September 2013 Posts

Employment in Shale-related Industries Fell in Most Recent Year

I will be on the Pennsylvania Cable Network Call-In Program Tuesday discussing the latest on the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on Pennsylvania's economy. So you can bet that I will be talking about new data giving us our first detailed glimpse of Marcellus Shale-related employment trends in Pennsylvania.

Property Tax Elimination Bill Threatens Long-term Public School Funding

Property tax elimination proposals have been getting a lot of attention this week, so we took a closer look at two of the most talked-about — House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76. Both plans pose a serious threat to stable, predictable education funding in Pennsylvania.

School Funding Should Be Harrisburg's Top Fall Priority

On Monday, parents, school board members, and citizens from across Pennsylvania came to Harrisburg to fight for more school funding and a fair distribution of those funds.

Today, a small group of anti-property tax activists converged on the Capitol steps and, if unchecked, threaten to derail our efforts.

Property Tax Shift Bills on Their Way to House Floor for Consideration This Week

On the first day of the new legislative session and at the same time a number of education groups were rallying in the Capitol Rotunda for more adequate state school funding, the House Finance Committee forwarded a series of bills to the House floor that would allow local school districts to shift who pays the local share for schools. With this action, these bills could be voted on by the full House as early as this week.

High Road Restaurant Owners Speak Out for Higher Minimum Wage

A few weeks ago, we responded to criticism about the feasibility of a $15-per-hour wage for fast food workers. In that post, we highlighted two "high road" employers, one a fast-food chain, as living examples of the feasibility — and profitability — of paying workers better.

Third and State Recap: Census Data on Health Insurance, Income Gaps Widening, Governor's Medicaid Plan, and More

Note: Third and State's In-Case-You-Missed-It Wrap Up is now published every two weeks.

Over the past two weeks, we blogged about the Governor's Medicaid plan, new U.S. Census data on health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, new figures on growing income inequality in the U.S., what a fast-food worker raise really costs, how Pennsylvania's job growth is measuring up, and much more.


  • On health care, Sharon Ward blogged that U.S. Census data out this week show that Pennsylvania's health insurance coverage rates are still below pre-recession levels — a reminder that Pennsylvania needs an expansion of Medicaid now more than ever. Chris Lilienthal provided an initial take of Governor Corbett's "Healthy PA" Medicaid plan and set the record straight about the cost of the state's existing Medicaid program. He also shared a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial saying that Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania cannot wait and must happen in 2014.
  • On income inequality, Stephen Herzenberg shared an analysis putting the latest figures on U.S. income in historical perspective and argued that a 35-year trend of "growing apart" cannot become the new normal. Chris Lilienthal shared a Philadelphia Daily News story highlighting new data showing a shocking rise in income inequality since 2009.
  • On wages, Steve Herzenberg cited analysis showing that increasing the wages of fast food workers to $15 per hour would likely add only about 20 cents to the $4 cost of a Big Mac.
  • On job growth, Mark Price blogged about how job growth in Pennsylvania has measured up in the economic recovery. Mark also took the state secretary of Labor and Industry to task for citing selective statistics in a letter to the Patriot-News to claim that the Pennsylvania economy is “strong.”
  • And on public benefits, Chris Lilienthal shared a letter to the editor explaining how public benefits encourage low-income people to go to work and keep at it.


  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recently redesigned its web site with a new look and easier navigation so that you can find everything you need right at your fingertips.
  • Read the Keystone Research Center's new policy brief, Nickel and Dimed: The Falling Purchasing Power of the Tipped Minimum Wage, and a press release on it.
  • Read PBPC Director Sharon Ward's September 9 testimony before the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee on the impact of state cuts to school funding and how best to address property tax reform.

Latest Income Numbers in Historical Perspective

The Gilded AgeColin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project has taken recently-released 2012 figures on the incomes of the top 1% and the rest of us and put the new information in historical perspective. Using national figures, he makes three points.

Secretary for the Selective Use of Statistics

On September 6, Pennsylvania Labor & Industry Secretary Julia K. Hearthway chided the Patriot-News — and, indirectly, the Keystone Research Center — for “selective use of statistics” when the paper (relying on The State of Working Pennsylvania 2013) accurately summarized the poor performance of the Pennsylvania economy from the perspective of most workers.

Morning Must Read: Better to Expand Medicaid

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In an editorial this morning, The Philadelphia Inquirer raises a number of good questions about Governor Corbett's Medicaid proposal and makes the right call in saying an expansion of health care in Pennsylvania cannot wait:

PA's Health Insurance Coverage Rates Still Below Pre-recession Levels

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New data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) show that Pennsylvanians have not made up for health insurance coverage lost during the Great Recession. It is also a big reminder that Pennsylvania needs an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act now more than ever.