Diversion Politics and Factual Errors with 'Americans for a Tiny Sliver of Rich People'

Jennifer Stefano, the Pennsylvania director of Americans for Prosperity, published an op-ed in the Patriot-News Friday — the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending.

Third and State This Week: Minimum Wage, No Go on Lottery Privatization, State Revenue Update and a Look Ahead

This week at Third and State, we blogged about structuring the minimum wage to ensure low-wage workers are sharing in the growing economic pie, why lottery privatization was bad policy (as well as being illegal), a check in on the President's State of the Union, a look at state revenue collections in January, and more.


  • On jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that a minimum wage that keeps pace with productivity growth would allow workers at all income levels to share in the expanding economic pie.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Attorney General's rejection of a contract to privatize the lottery is good news for Pennsylvania and the future of senior services funded by the lottery.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood provided an update on state revenue collections, which came in slightly below estimate in January but remain ahead of targets for the fiscal year.
  • Finally, Mark Price offered his take on President Obama's State of the Union address, notably the President's plan to increase investments in infrastructure and universal pre-kindergarten education, and his proposals to reduce inequality.


  • Check out photos from the kick off of the "Cover the Commonwealth" Campaign. More than 150 advocates came to Harrisburg to urge Governor Corbett and lawmakers to take advantage of a federal opportunity to draw down $43 billion in funds to strengthen the state's health care economy and expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.
  • Pittsburgh City Paper has some interesting infographics on the Governor's budget proposal, using analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
  • Like us on Facebook: Keystone Research CenterPennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.


  • The Pennsylvania Budget Summit is less than a week away. Register today for the Summit on February 21 in Harrisburg. It offers an in-depth look at Governor Corbett's budget, the latest on the federal budget, and what it all means for families and communities across the commonwealth.

With the President Promising to Reduce Inequality, the Devil Will Be in the Details

We were hoping to hear President Obama in his State of the Union address underline his commitment to taking on our greatest short- and long-term challenges: persistent high unemployment and rapidly growing inequality.

Third and State This Week: Union Membership, Tax Loopholes and a Medicaid Opportunity Too Good to Pass Up

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on union membership, tax loophole bills approved by a state House committee, Republican governors opting in to the expansion of Medicaid and more.


  • On a new report on union membership, Stephen Herzenberg channeled Mark Twain to write that the reports of unions' death are greatly exaggerated.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about two bills that passed the House Finance Committee this week and would create new loopholes in Pennsylvania's tax system.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward wrote about growing bipartisan agreement that the optional expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is too good an opportunity to pass up.
  • On the federal budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a table from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing how much in across-the-board federal cuts are slated to take effect in March under the fiscal cliff deal.

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

Third and State This Week: Taking Full Advantage of Health Reform, Poverty the Forgotten Issue & Tax Giveaways in PA

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the benefits of expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the absence of poverty in the national political debate, a state tax giveaway for a company whose CEO owns a Hawaiian island, and the latest on state revenue collections.


  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged that with the election decided it is clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. The question now is will some states squander an opportunity the law presents to cover millions of uninsured Americans.
  • On poverty, Jamar Thrasher highlighted an op-ed observing that poverty is one issue that has been conspicuously absent from the debate in the now completed elections.
  • On state taxes, Jamar Thrasher wrote that tax giveaways should not be handed out to companies whose CEOs are doing well enough to afford to buy a Hawaiian island.
  • And Michael Wood penned an update on Pennsylvania state revenue collections one-third the way through the 2012-13 fiscal year.

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

Afternoon Must Read: Poverty the Forgotten Campaign Issue

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There has been no shortage of issues to discuss in the 2012 presidential campaign, but one issue that is conspicuously absent from the debate is poverty. Some advocates, including Rev. Sandra Strauss of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches (who serves on the Keystone Research Center's board), decided to make it a campaign issue. Check out her op-ed in today's Patriot-News.

Third and State This Week: The October No Surprise, Sizing Up Service Cuts, and Small Biz Owners Say End Top Tax Cuts

This week at Third and State, we blogged about U.S. job growth in October and what it means, how human service cuts are impacting the lives of Pennsylvanians, a poll showing a majority of small business owners support ending tax cuts for top earners, and more.


  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about today's jobs report from the federal government signaling U.S. employment growth is back on track. Mark also delved further into the recent claim of a state official that the Marcellus Shale industry is bringing a "tsunami of jobs" to Pennsylvania.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins recapped a recent forum in Montgomery County where speakers testified to the importance of investing in prevention and community supports for people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new poll finding that a majority of small business owners support ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners. We also previewed a forum at Dickinson College in Carlisle next week featuring economist Dean Baker talking about the federal fiscal cliff.
  • And on voter ID, Jamar Thrasher wrote about advocates' concerns that ads in Pennsylvania are providing misleading information about voter ID in the upcoming election.

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

Morning Must Reads: Misleading Voter ID Ads in PA

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Pennsylvania continues to run advertisements with misleading information about voter ID in the upcoming election, advocates tell Mother Jones Magazine this week. (Thanks to Pittsburgh political rapper Jasiri X for sharing the article.)

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.


  • 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!

More Than 180 Voter Suppression Laws Proposed

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We have written a lot about Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law, which has been put on hold by the courts for the upcoming election. Turns out we're not alone when it comes to voting suppression.

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