Posts by third and state

In Case You Missed It: The Shutdown and PA's Economy, Health Marketplaces, Property Taxes & More

In recent weeks, we blogged about the impact of the federal government shutdown on Pennsylvania's economy, the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace, property tax bills with significant implications for school funding, a high-road restaurant owner's take on the minimum wage, Marcellus Shale-related employment, and the latest state revenue report.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal policy and the economy, Mark Price blogged that a prolonged federal government shutdown will harm the Pennsylvania economy and that it should be a top priority of the state's congressional delegation to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government before lasting damage is done.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace — the latest provision of the Affordable Care Act to take effect — and in the words of a Lancaster teacher "how life changing this will be for people who thought they would die without health insurance."
  • On property taxes and education funding, Michael Wood previewed property tax-shift bills moving through the House and wrote about one bill that won approval in the House last week. Sharon Ward blogged about how legislation to completely eliminate property taxes would threaten long-term public school funding. Chris Lilienthal wrote about a recent Capitol event that brought parents and other Pennsylvanians together to fight for more school funding and a fair distribution of those funds.
  • On the minimum wage, Stephen Herzenberg wrote about a high-road restaurant owner who is advocating for an increase in the minimum wage and the minimum wage paid to tipped workers.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price blogged that shale-related employment fell in Pennsylvania in the most recent year.
  • And on state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about a report showing that Pennsylvania General Fund revenue collections are on track a quarter way through the 2013-14 fiscal year.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) has resources on what the Affordable Care Act means for Pennsylvania and a summary of Governor Corbett's "Healthy PA" plan, which takes the federal option to expand Medicaid health coverage under the health reform law and proposes other changes to the state's Medicaid program.
  • PBPC's latest chartbook shows state tax rates would have to more than double to replace local property tax dollars that support schools.
  • The Keystone Research Center released a pension primer examining a new three-pronged proposal released by Representative Glen Grell, including a new cash balance plan for future public employees. Read a press release on the report and a memo to editorial writers.
  • Read PBPC's press release on the September 30 Capitol event highlighting the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace and watch the highlights below.

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.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • 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.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • 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.

Third and State Recap: The Rise of Low-Paying Jobs, State of Working PA, What You Should Earn, Revenue Update, & More

Over the past two weeks, we blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report, the State of Working Pennsylvania, why low-paying jobs in hotels and restaurants are on the rise across the commonwealth, what you should be earning, state revenue collections, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price highlighted the key takeaways from the latest U.S. jobs report and explained why low-paying jobs in hotels and restaurants are making up such a large share of job growth in Pennsylvania in recent years. Chris Lilienthal blogged about the Keystone Research Center's latest State of Working PA report and shared an online tool from the Economic Policy Institute showing how much you would be making if wages had kept pace with productivity in the economy.
  • On state tax and budget issues, Michael Wood blogged that revenue collections appear to be on track two months into Pennsylvania's new fiscal year.
  • And on income inequality, Steve Herzenberg wrote the speech he wished President Obama would have given on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Third and State Recap: Invest in Education, Flawed Study on Welfare, Facts About Nutrition Assistance, and More

Over the past two weeks, we wrote about a new study on the strong link between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and both productivity and workers’ pay. We also responded to a flawed study on work and public welfare, separated fact from fiction on nutrition assistance, and weighed in further on a study about social mobility.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On education and the workforce, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new study finding that states with higher educational attainment enjoy higher productivity growth and higher increases in pay for typical workers. "It's invest in education, stupid," Steve writes, paraphrasing James Carville's famous quote.
  • On public welfare and health care, Sharon Ward responded to a Cato Institute study, explaining how flawed the study's methodology is and how out of touch with reality its conclusions are on the economic state of households receiving public benefits.
  • On the federal budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a short video separating fact from fiction in the ongoing debate over nutrition assistance for low-income Americans.
  • On jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg asked whether the Right can afford to acknowledge low upward mobility in the U.S.?
  • And on privatization, Stephen Herzenberg shared video of his weekend appearance on PA Newsmakers debating the wisdom of privatizing the state's wine and spirit stores.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Read more about the study on educational attainment and a strong economy in a press release from the Keystone Research Center.

A LOOK AHEAD:

  • With Labor Day fast approaching, look next week for the Keystone Research Center's State of Working PA, an annual review of how working Pennsylvanians and their families are faring in today’s economy. You will find it at Keystone's State of Working PA web page.

Third and State This Week: Health Law Saves Consumers, Upward Social Mobility, & More on State Revenue Outlook

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that ensures health insurance companies spend most premium dollars on direct medical care, shared an op-ed on what works when it come to upward social mobility, and provided more analysis on the state's revenue outlook for 2013-14.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a key reform in the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% to 85% of premium dollars on direct medical care or issue rebates to consumers.
  • On jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg shared his PennLive.com op-ed on a new report providing the most detailed information yet on what works — and what doesn’t — when it comes to keeping the American Dream alive.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood filed two blog posts about the official state revenue estimates for 2013-14 --  the first looking at why corporate tax collections are projected to decline, and the second examining what's expected with personal income and sales tax collections.

IN OTHER NEWS:

In recent weeks, the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center have released the following publications:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center published an analysis of the 2013-14 General Fund official revenue estimates, a briefing paper on how Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale impact fee comes up well short of natural gas severance taxes in Texas and West Virginia, and a press release on the pending cut to federal nutrition assistance.
  • The Keystone Research Center published a briefing paper and press release about a new landmark study showing that Pennsylvania enjoys substantially more upward mobility than many other parts of the United States.

IN THE MEDIA:

The staff and research of the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center were featured in the following news reports and radio interviews in recent weeks:

Third and State This Week: Nutrition Assistance Cuts, Fast Food Worker Strikes, Modest State Revenue Growth & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a pending cut and other threats to federal nutrition assistance, what the one-day strikes by fast food workers tell us about the future of the middle class, a post-recession pay cut for the nation's low-wage workers, state revenue growth in the year ahead, and the role of public safety net programs in keeping people out of poverty.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On food insecurity, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a report on the significant impact that a pending cut in nutrition assistance will have on low-income families across Pennsylvania and the nation. He also shared a New York Times report on a new study finding that additional cuts proposed by the U.S. House would cost more than 5 million Americans needed food assistance.
  • On unions and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the fast food workers engaging in one-day strikes across the country may be on the verge of cracking the code to the next U.S. middle class.
  • On income inequality, intern Ellis Wazeter blogged about a recent study showing that low-wage American workers have taken a post-recession hit to their paychecks.
  • On state taxes, Michael Wood shared a chart showing that General Fund revenue collections are projected to grow very little in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  • And on poverty, Chris Lilienthal passed on a blog post by Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlighting just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Third and State This Week: Upward Mobility, Pittsburgh and Detroit, Revenue Wrap, and Diversion Politics

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new study showing the American Dream of upward mobility is more alive in Pennsylvania than in many parts of the country. We also wrote about 2012-13 revenue collections and a well-oiled effort to distract middle-class families from the real cause of their economic struggle. Plus, a guest post on how Pittsburgh avoided Detroit's fate.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On wages and mobility, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new study by Harvard and Berkeley economists showing that Pennsylvania enjoys substantially more upward mobility than many other parts of the United States.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood explained some of the key takeaways from General Fund revenue collections in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
  • On nutrition assistance, Stephen Herzenberg responded to the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending. Steve wrote that the real kitchen table issue facing most Americans is rising income inequality.
  • And on the Marcellus Shale and the economy, guest blogger Tim Stuhldreher shared his thoughts on why Pittsburgh has fared much better than Detroit after taking huge economic hits in the 1980s. Hint: it is not all about shale drilling.

IN OTHER NEWS

Third and State This Week: Fewer College Grads Starting Businesses and State Revenue Collections in 2012-13

This week at Third and State, we blogged about student loan debt deterring college grads from starting their own businesses, income inequality and efforts to turn back prevailing wage laws for construction workers, and revenue collections during the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher blogged that more and more American college graduates are declining to start their own businesses partly because of the rising costs of tuition and crushing student loan debt.
  • On income inequality and the prevailing wage, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that too many people in the "1%" (and the smaller groups at the very, very top) seem to have convinced themselves that they are not only more deserving but also somehow different than — better than — other people.
  • And on state budget and taxes, Michael Wood shared the following chart tracking monthly revenue collection trends in the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
    2012-13 General Fund Revenue Surplus/(Deficit) by Month

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Third and State This Week: Budget Analysis, Food Security Danger, Unremarkable Private Job Growth & Payday Lenders

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, the danger facing America's leading food security program, Pennsylvania's unremarkable private-sector job performance, and a gambit by payday lenders that backfired.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's detailed analysis of the 2013-14 budget, and Michael Wood explained that tax changes enacted along with the budget made some steps toward reform but weigh the state's Tax Code down with more special interest tax breaks.
  • On the federal budget, Sharon Ward wrote that legislation separating agricultural programs from nutrition supports funded through the farm bill poses a threat to food assistance for millions of struggling parents, children, and vulnerable citizens.
  • On jobs, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Pennsylvania’s private-sector job growth has almost stalled since about a year into Governor Corbett's term.
  • On consumer protection, Mark Price explained how payday lenders won few friends in the state Senate when they convinced House leaders to insert language into a must-pass Fiscal Code bill stating it was the intent of House and Senate leaders to enact payday legislation in the fall.

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Third and State This Week: The PA Budget and Connecting the Dots Between Wage Growth and Unemployment

The week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, school funding, transportation funding, and the Medicaid expansion. Plus we shared a graphic connecting the dots between wage growth and unemployment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about passage of the $28.375 billion spending plan for 2013-14, and Sharon Ward shared her recent PennLive.com op-ed on the opportunity — and obligation — the Pennsylvania Senate had to really close corporate tax loopholes with this budget.
  • On school funding, Sharon Ward wrote that the Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.
  • On transportation, Michael Wood wrote about dueling House and Senate bills to provide between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for transportation projects. Neither plan was passed before the Legislature left for its summer recess.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee's approval of legislation to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the full Senate vote on the bill, and how the House derailed the effort before adjourning for the summer.
  • And on wages, Mark Price shared a graphic from Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth.

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES: