Morning Must Reads: Midstate Employment and More Post-Budget Analysis

Jobseekers in Central Pennsylvania might be able to smile, if only for a short while. A new report shows slight uptick in the employment rate in the midstate, with four counties in the area showing increased employment rates.

Four of the midstate's five counties make the BLS' list of the United State's 322 largest counties covered in today's release. Employment in the fourth quarter dropped by 0.4 percent in Dauphin compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, but rose in Cumberland, Lancaster and York, the BLS said. Total employment in the four counties increased by 0.17 percent, according to calculations based on the BLS data.

Wages in the four counties dropped by between 2.7 percent and 4 percent between December 2010 and December 2011, the BLS said. That paralleled a drop nationwide of 1.7 percent, as reported by the agency.

The Citizens Voice, meanwhile, takes a look at whose needs were met in the recently approved state budget and who got left behind. Budgets are statements of our values - not hard to see what values are being served.

Here's the run down.

Losers

About 70,000 individuals, mostly adults with disabilities, will lose monthly stipends of about $200 as of Aug. 1 with the end of the General Assistance cash grant program.

Winners

The budget affords an array of permanent tax breaks for businesses.

Clearly, the final budget was less painful for many groups than the budget proposed by the Governor back in February. The Pennsylvania Health Care Association said the governor and lawmakers had kept their promise to the elderly by restoring Medicaid funding to nursing homes. Governor Tom Corbett had proposed a 4% cut in Medical Assistance rates. Even with this minor victory, the association notes that flat Medicaid funding means reimbursements are $20 per patient, per day less than the real cost of providing care.

Winners or losers?

Corbett touted state taxpayers as winners in a no tax-hike budget, while Democratic lawmakers said cuts in state aid will make local taxpayers pay more.

Do you think Pennsylvania residents won or did we lose?

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