Daily Must Reads: Layoffs in the Public Sector, Jobs at the Cracker Plant and Liquor Privatization Pushed to Fall

The New York Times this morning takes a look at layoffs in the public sector across the country and what they mean for education, law enforcement, and overall unemployment. The story shines a light on recent public-sector layoffs here in Pennsylvania, with a little context provided by our own Mark Price.

Companies have been slowly adding workers for more than two years. But pink slips are still going out in a crucial area: government ...

Pennsylvania, for example, has shed 5,400 government jobs this year, and many school districts and social service agencies are contemplating more layoffs. “We have slipped to the middle of the pack in terms of job growth,” said Mark Price, a labor economist at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. “And that was driven mainly by the fact that we lost so many jobs in the public sector."

If governments still employed the same percentage of the work force as they did in 2009, the unemployment rate would be a percentage point lower, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics ...

But those with disappearing jobs say that the effects are not just economic — they mean longer response times to fires, larger class sizes, and in some cases lawsuits when short-staffed agencies are unable to provide the required services.

State Impact PA delves deeper into the job projections behind the proposed tax credit for Shell’s potential ethane cracker in Western Pennsylvania.

The Cor­bett Administration’s claims that an ethane cracker would lead to “20,000 per­ma­nent jobs” in west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia are based on a study con­ducted by the Amer­i­can Chem­istry Coun­cil, an indus­try trade group that counts Shell Chem­i­cal as a member.

Nei­ther the group’s one-page fact sheet or a longer three-page doc­u­ment 
 you can read both at the bot­tom of this post — explain the study’s method­ol­ogy, but Amer­i­can Chem­istry Coun­cil Chief Econ­o­mist Kevin Smith told StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia he and two other researchers used Mig Incorporated’s IMPLAN eco­nomic model to make projections.

One direct effect of state budget cuts can be seen in a report today on Bedford County closing its only domestic violence victim shelter. The shelter, which served 1,600 people each month, will be shuttered due to a lack of funding.

Bedford County's only domestic violence victims' shelter closed this month, making it the first of what some fear could be more closures as budget cuts hit shelters statewide ...

But with federal and state money leveling off — and in many cases, being cut significantly — other shelters in the state could be at risk, said Ellen Kramer, legal director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

It’s official. A House vote on the liquor privatization bill will be delayed until at least the fall.

Finally, The Patriot News joins the growing chorus of newspapers calling on lawmakers to adopt Governor Corbett’s plan to cap the sales tax vender tax discount.

The [sales] tax has been around since the days when business owners had no other choice but to mail or hand deliver it to the state.

Policymakers back in 1956 decided one way to make certain Pennsylvania got its tax dollars on time was to offer an incentive.

Jump ahead to 2012 with financial books on computers and instant electronic filing. No one should have to sift through paperwork to get the state its money on time. Yet in the 2011-12 year, the state gave away nearly $71 million because of the tax discount.

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