Matthew Brouillette plans to step down at the end of June from the Harrisburg-based free-market think tank he has led through nearly 15 years of battles over state policies.
Brouillette took the helm of the conservative-leaning Commonwealth Foundation in February 2002. Back then, the organization had just three employees and $350,000 in revenue.
Today the Commonwealth Foundation boasts 18 employees and an annual budget of more than $4 million with offices in Harrisburg and King of Prussia. Brouillette has been president and CEO.
Although Brouillette is stepping away from the foundation, he is not giving up pressing for the kinds of policy changes he has long advocated.
He will be announcing plans for a new endeavor in the coming weeks, he said. “The next step is to build on successes and keep fighting for the people’s interests against special interests,” he said.
Two areas of concern are public pensions and state liquor stores.
What many see as impossible today — including pension reform and liquor-store privatization in Pennsylvania — will eventually become inevitable, he said.
“You never know when the dam is going to bust,” he said. “That’s why we have to continue pressing onward. That’s why we will continue to advocate for things people say will never happen.”
Pennsylvania typically takes incremental steps when it comes to big policy changes, he said. “We believe we can speed up the lag time of those increments.”
The two state-sponsored retirement systems have unfunded liabilities that are approaching $60 billion. There have been multiple attempts in recent years to reform the pension systems, including proposals to transition to 401(k)-style plans and other models.
Many Republican lawmakers have pushed for the sale of the state liquor stores, while Democrats have advocated for more modernization.
Brouillette said he plans to stay involved in the Commonwealth Foundation, and he will be considered for board membership this summer. He is also involved in The Fairness Center, nonprofit public interest law firm offering free legal services to those facing unjust treatment from leaders of public employee unions.