Posts by third and state

Third and State This Week: Pensions Debate, Voter Suppression Laws and Dissecting September Jobs Numbers

This week at Third and State, we took a closer look at the latest Pennsylvania jobs numbers and blogged about the prevalence of voter suppression proposals across the U.S., the wage gap between men and women college graduates, and highlights from a debate in Bucks County over public pensions.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that for the first time since the start of the Great Recession, unemployment in Pennsylvania moved above the U.S. jobless rate in September. Mark also blogged about a "tsunami of jobs" in Pennsylvania last month and explained how there are two surveys (one of households and the other of employers) used to track employment trends.
  • On voter suppression, Jamar Thrasher blogged about more than 180 voter suppression laws proposed nationwide between 2011 and 2012.
  • On income inequality, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a study finding that women college graduates are paid only 82% of what men earn a year after graduation.
  • On public pensions, Chris Lilienthal highlighted a recent debate on the issue where Stephen Herzenberg of the Keystone Research Center made the point that teachers and other public-sector workers should not be punished for decisions made in Harrisburg that have led to the current pension funding challenges.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Third and State This Week: The Manufacturing Jobs Score, Charter School Bill Dies & a Win Against Corporate Welfare

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on manufacturing job growth by presidential administration, the stalling of a charter school bill in the House, a rare victory in the endless fight against corporate welfare, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On manufacturing jobs, Stephen Herzenberg highlighted a report he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project on state-level manufacturing job growth and loss across 16 post-World War II presidential administrations.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price offered his quick take on Friday's report showing the commonwealth's jobs picture in September remains headed in the wrong direction. Mark Price also blogged about a new report finding that skills shortages in manufacturing are a local, not a national, problem.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about a food corporation's withdrawal of a request for a property tax abatement a day after Michael Wood of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center raised questions about it in an op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a charter school reform bill that stalled this week in the state House.
  • On income inequality, Mark Price blogged about a piece in The New York Times that drew parallels between income inequality practices in old Venice and present day America. Mark also wrote that the biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States will be runaway inequality.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Third and State This Week: Paying the Boss to Work, a Payday Lending Poll, and Austin Powers on Tax Incentives

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the problems with a "pay your boss to work" tax credit plan, what the Austin Powers movies can teach us about economic development, the gas industry taking on Pennsylvania charities, an online payday lending poll, and more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state tax policy, Michael Wood noted the top 10 reasons to vote no on a bill that would allow many Pennsylvania employers to pocket the state income taxes paid by new employees.
  • On taxes and economic development, Mark Price channeled his vast knowledge of Austin Powers' quotes to comment on an effort by a food corporation to secure a property tax abatement for a meat repackaging plant in Lower Allen Township.
  • On Marcellus Shale, Stephen Herzenberg wrote about the need for reliable data on natural gas drilling after the Marcellus Shale Coalition criticized the funding priorities of certain Pennsylvania foundations.
  • On payday lending, Chris Lilienthal urged readers to vote in an online poll asking Pennsylvanians if payday lenders should be able to open storefronts in the state.
  • And on jobs and the economy, Mark Price chronicled the many informative responses debunking former GE CEO Jack Welch's suggestion on Twitter that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics altered September's jobs report.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Third and State This Week: Court Halts Voter ID Law, Changing the Subject on Payday Lending and Paying the Boss to Work

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election, an effort to change the subject on payday lending, a report on rising student debt, a lawsuit against the state to restore General Assistance and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, we highlighted a statement from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) on a Commonwealth Court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election. Chris Lilienthal also highlighted MSNBC's coverage of PBPC's recent report on the state's flawed implementation of the Voter ID Law.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a recent state Senate hearing on the subject and why changing the subject doesn't make high-interest payday lending any better an idea in Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pew Research Center report on the growing burden of student debt especially among the lowest-income students.
  • On jobs, Mark Price explained how the story of a Bucks County manufacturer who is finding it difficult to recruit workers made him think of a joke about parrots and economists. He also broke down the employment picture in Allentown.
  • On state tax policy, we shared a video from Reuters exploring the problems with programs that allow certain businesses to keep the income taxes paid by employees. The Pennsylvania House is considering a similar program.
  • On public welfare, Mark Price blogged about a lawsuit aimed at restoring Pennsylvania's General Assistance program.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Reuters Video: Is Your Boss Pocketing Your State Income Taxes?

In a letter to state lawmakers this week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center highlighted several concerns with a proposed tax credit program that would allow certain qualifying businesses to keep the income taxes paid by their employees. Paying the boss to work? It could get a vote in the state House when the Legislature returns to session the week of October 15.

Believe it or not, this is not a new idea. A number of states have similar programs. Good Jobs First calls it "job blackmail." David Cay Johnston of Reuters explains it all in this great (and short) video. Watch it.

Court Ruling an Acknowledgement of Flaws in Voter ID Implementation

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A Commonwealth Court ruling today has halted enforcement of Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law in the November election. Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, put out this statement on the decision:

The court’s decision is welcome news and an acknowledgement that the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law has been inadequate and has needlessly put the voting rights of many Pennsylvanians at risk. The decision allows voters, troubled over the hardship involved in obtaining an ID, to rest easier tonight.

This decision is an important but temporary fix. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has documented persistent and widespread confusion over this law among PennDOT staff and voters seeking IDs. The commonwealth must address these problems and demonstrate it is capable of constructing a clear system that gets eligible voters the ID they will need. If it cannot do so, the commonwealth must reconsider the law altogether.

You can read the center's most recent report on flaws in the commonwealth's implementation of voter ID.

Third and State This Week: Confusion About Voter ID, Payday Lending in the Senate and Poverty-wage Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on the Voter ID Law, a bill to legalize high-interest payday lending now before the state Senate, poverty-wage jobs in Pennsylvania, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, Sharon Ward blogged about a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on confusion surrounding the new law among PennDOT staff and voters alike. You can check out PBPC's full report here.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about legislation before the Senate to legalize payday loans with annual interest rates of 369%. He also explained that the writer of a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News supportive of the bill forgot to mention her group represents payday lenders.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about local incentives in a Tennessee town intended to lure web developers.
  • On poverty, Mark Price reported that about 24% of Pennsylvania workers earned poverty wages in 2011.
  • On monetary policy, Mark Price highlighted two views on what the Federal Reserve can do to boost the economy. 
  • On education, Mark Price shared an Allentown Morning Call column offering a midterm report card on Governor Corbett's education policies.
  • And in a Friday Funny, we bring you an article by the satirical newspaper The Onion on how voter suppression in Pennsylvania isn't as fun as it used to be. 

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Friday Funny: "I Suppressed a Vote Today"

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The OnionBefore you head out for the weekend, we pass on a little Friday Funny from The OnionWith Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law in the news this week, it seems only appropriate to share this fake story about a Pennsylvania elections official lamenting that the vote he just suppressed may not even make a difference:

“Obama’s going to win here no matter who I disenfranchise, so what’s the point?” said [fake elections official Donald] Tobin, adding that if he lived in a true swing state like Florida or Ohio, his vote suppression might actually count for something. “Honestly, what’s it say about our electoral system when, even if I exercise my right to turn an elderly or enfeebled U.S. citizen away because he doesn’t have a driver’s license, it basically means nothing. That’s not democracy.” Though he was clearly disappointed, Tobin decided he would place an “I Suppressed a Vote Today” sticker on his jacket collar, anyway.

Third and State This Week: PA Jobs Advantage Recedes, Supreme Court Has Voter ID Concerns, Poverty Remains High and the Manufacturing Jobs Score

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the shrinking (and now disappeared) advantage Pennsylvania had over the national unemployment rate, concerns voiced by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over the Voter ID Law, the "manufacturing jobs score" by presidential administration, new data on poverty in Pennsylvania and much more. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg fact checked a recent assessment of the Corbett administration's jobs record, and Mark Price blogged about the August jobs report showing that the advantage Pennsylvania had over the national unemployment rate has disappeared.
  • On jobs and manufacturing, Stephen Herzenberg shared a commentary he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the University of Iowa on the "manufacturing jobs score" by presidential administration since 1948. 
  • On voter ID, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to send the legal challenge to the law back to the Commonwealth Court — and the concerns voiced by the court about the law's implementation.
  • On poverty, Chris Lilienthal highlighted media reports on new Census data on poverty in Pennsylvania and in major metro regions of the state. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center also put out an overview of the new Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On hunger, Jamar Thrasher blogged about how more colleges and universities are opening food banks for students who can't afford their next meal.
  • And in Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news reports on Hershey's plan for a $300 million manufacturing plant and on Occupy Wall Street one year later.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Third and State This Week: Voter ID Before Supreme Court, Fewer Uninsured Americans & State Revenue Update

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Voter ID arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, new Census data showing a decrease in the number of uninsured Americans, state revenue collections through August, and much more.

 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the Voter ID Law, Jamar Thrasher wrote about arguments before the state Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the law during which a few justices raised concerns about the number of voters impacted and asked why the commonwealth was rushing to implement the law for the fall election.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Census Bureau data released this week showing that more Americans were insured in 2011 than the year before, thanks largely to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 
  • On income inequality and poverty, Mark Price wrote about the bad news in the Census data — incomes are down and poverty is up in Pennsylvania compared to before the recession. Chris had also blogged about what to expect in the Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about state revenue collections through August but noted that September will tell a fuller story about the state's revenue picture.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news stories on the Chicago teachers strike and an analysis of the job growth performance of past presidential administrations.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!