Governor Wolf Directs State Planning Board To Tackle 3 Issues

By Sarah Galbally, Secretary of Policy & Planning

July 08, 2016

Governor Wolf tasked the State Planning Board to tackle three issues he has identified as important to the future needs of Pennsylvania. Those include funding transportation, addressing fragmentation in local government and how that affects school funding, and supporting Pennsylvania’s struggling older cities and towns.

What is the State Planning Board?

The State Planning Board, which was first established in 1929, was reconstituted by Act 41 of 1989, as an advisory board within the Governor’s Office entrusted with the following powers and duties:

  • Study social, economic, physical, demographic, and other factors that may influence the present and future welfare of the commonwealth.
  • Monitor nation and state trends, identify issues of potential interest and concern to the commonwealth and prepare annual reports for the governor and the General Assembly.
  • Develop strategic plans and programs to promote and enhance the welfare of the commonwealth and make recommendations to the governor.
  • Solicit information and input from state and local government officials and private citizens in Pennsylvania.
What are the specifics of Governor Wolf’s directive to the board?

Governor Wolf has requested consensus recommendations for state policies and actions, including possible legislation, in three broad areas:

  1. How can state and local infrastructure funding be better coordinated to provide incentives for regional planning, coordination between local units, right-sizing of services, and increased efficiency?
  2. How does the fragmentation of government at the state, county and local level affect decision-making on issues such as school funding? Pennsylvania has over 5,000 governmental units, each of which has authority for specific functions. How does this decentralization of planning affect outcomes and are there policy suggestions which could remedy problems or inefficiencies which are identified?
  3. How can the state do more to support Pennsylvania’s struggling older cities and towns? Identify policies, including tax policies, which contribute to the divide between urban and suburban areas, and to the twin challenges of concentrated poverty and sprawl.

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