Democracy

Third and State This Week: State of Working PA, New Online Sales Tax Rules & Honoring Work on Labor Day

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the State of Working Pennsylvania, new rules that will close an online sales tax loophole (at least a little bit), new budget guidelines for 2013-14, honoring work on Labor Day, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote about layoffs in the Pittsburgh School District and the Keystone Research Center's State of Working Pennsylvania report that came out this week. The Keystone report concludes that Pennsylvania and the nation need a new policy direction to lift up working and middle-income families.
  • On state tax policy, Michael Wood blogged about a rule change that will level the playing field somewhat between online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores by requiring retailers like Amazon, with a physical presence in Pennsylvania, to collect sales tax on online purchases.
  • On state policy, Jamar Thrasher highlighted news reports on new 2013-14 budget guidelines from the Corbett administration and a new type of voter ID introduced this week.
  • And in honor of Labor Day, Mark Price highlighted a few commentaries honoring work and calling for a middle class-friendly economic policy.

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

Morning Must Reads: New Budget Guidelines Envision Even More Cuts Next Year and a New Voter ID Debuts

Less than two months into the new fiscal year, the Corbett administration is out with internal budgetary guidelines for the 2013-14 fiscal year — and, you guessed it, more cuts are on the menu.

The administration cites declining federal funds and increased mandatory state expenses, including higher costs for health care and prisons. The new guidelines specifically tell state departments and agencies that if they lose federal funding, they should not request additional state funding to offset the loss.

Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center asks in a story by the PA Independent whether that blanket approach is wise.

Third and State This Week: PA Falling Short on Voter ID & $500 Million Lost to Natural Gas Tax Giveaway

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a report on problems with the state's implementation of the Voter ID Law, revenue lost to the state by not having a Marcellus Shale drilling tax, private schools choosing "Opportunity Scholarship" students and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the Voter ID Law, Sharon Ward wrote about a recent Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center report finding that the commonwealth is not ready to issue a photo ID to everyone who needs one for the November election.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged that while natural gas drillers extracted over $8 billion worth of natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale between July 2009 and June 2012, the commonwealth lost out on hundreds of millions in revenue by not having a drilling tax in place.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a Reading Eagle article explaining that private schools will be able to pick and choose students who are eligible for Opportunity Scholarships.
  • And Chris Lilienthal had a Must Read this week about the restoration of mortgage assistance for struggling homeowners and the appointment of a school vouchers advocate to lead the financial recovery process at the Chester Upland School District.

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

Chaos at the PennDOT

Now that Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has given the green light to Pennsylvania’s strictest in-the-nation Voter ID Law, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will have to make their way to their local PennDOT office to get a photo ID. We can tell you, it won’t be easy.

Third and State Recap: Weak Jobs Report for July, Water Polo and the Economy, and the Ryan Budget in PA

Over the past two weeks, we have been busy blogging about July reports on jobs and state revenues, how much the Ryan budget would cost Pennsylvania, what water polo swimsuit malfunctions have to do with the economy, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price analyzed Pennsylvania's jobs report for July, and the news was not good.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote that July tax collections were solid, starting the commonwealth out on the right foot in the new fiscal year.
  • On the federal budget, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report estimating that Pennsylvania would lose more than $1 billion in federal funding for education, law enforcement, clean water, and other projects under the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan.
  • On the economy and regulations, Steve Herzenberg noted that the need for rules to discourage water polo players from ripping off each other’s swimsuits underscores the need for regulations to promote more constructive competition in our economy. (You can also listen here to Steve discuss this theme while guest hosting The Rick Smith Show August 8.)
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article detailing how charter schools play by a different set of rules than public schools.
  • In Morning Must Reads over the past two weeks, Mark Price highlighted news reports on the Corbett administration's decision to end programs that help low-income households file their taxes; people impacted by the elimination of General Assistance in Pennsylvania; the need for paid sick leave for more than 40 million American workers; and even more resources on the Ryan budget plan.
  • And in a Friday Funny today, Chris Lilienthal shared a Monty Python clip about some rather enthusiastic Mosquito Hunters that had some of us thinking about the state's new Voter ID Law.

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

Friday Funny: Voter ID and Mosquito Hunting

This comes to us via Twitter from Dr. Chris Hughes, a critical care and hospice physician in Pittsburgh and the state director of Doctors for America. He likens the state's new Voter ID Law to Monty Python's rather enthusiastic mosquito hunters. Watch the clip and tell us what you think.

Morning Must Reads: Got No Evidence? No Problem Just Make It Up!

I hope you had a relaxing weekend.

The Philadelphia Daily News does an excellent job this morning laying out the facts about the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps.

Morning Must Reads Part II: Supreme Court Ruling a Victory But More Work to Be Done

Following the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at the decision, calling it a victory for common sense.

Third and State This Week: PA Senate Approves Budget, Payday Lending Advances & a Harrisburg Rally

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Pennsylvania Senate's passage of a budget, movement on a bill to legalize predatory payday lending in the state, a big rally at the state Capitol, analysis of the April jobs report, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about the Senate's passage of a state budget bill this week that improves upon the Governor's budget but still makes deep cuts to education and health services. Earlier in the week, she had a blog post on the Senate budget when details first emerged. Chris Lilienthal highlighted a Monday rally at the Capitol that brought 700 Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg to call on lawmakers and the Governor to save the General Assistance program and restore cuts proposed to county services for children, the homeless and people with disabilities. Plus, Mark Price blogged about concerns that the state will not spend all the tax revenue it collects, creating a further drag on the economy.
  • On banking, Mark Price blogged about committee approval of a state House bill that would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for the state's consumers and economy.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared analysis of April's U.S. jobs report.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a roundup of news on the economic impact of state and federal budget cuts, the prospect of higher interest rates on student loans and the geography of manufacturing. 

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

The Path to Fiscal Responsibility

PA Cares for All RallyPrevention is the path to fiscal responsibility.

Those were the words of Tony Ross of the United Way of Pennsylvania at a rally in the state Capitol that brought 700 people from across Pennsylvania to Harrisburg today.

Many speakers called on Governor Corbett and the General Assembly to restore funding for the state’s General Assistance Program.

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