Economic Development

Morning Must Reads: The Impact of Economic Austerity, Student Loans and the Geography of Manufacturing

The U.S. economy is growing, albeit too slowly to make a substantial and badly needed dent in the unemployment rate. Growth in the U.S. economy will almost certainly mean continued growth in the Pennsylvania economy.

The most important risk to Pennsylvania's job growth in 2012 remains job losses among teachers, nurses and other public servants caused by federal and state budget cuts. 

Morning Must Reads: Good news in Pittsburgh and Chester County, Not So Much In Scranton

Since it is spring, how about some good news for a change! The budget gap faced by the Pittsburgh School District is smaller than expected thanks to unexpected revenue growth and a mild winter.

This Week at Third and State: School Bus Contracting, Voter ID and the Misguided Food Stamps Asset Test

This week, we blogged about a new report on the higher costs of contracting out school bus transportation to private companies, the expensive voter ID bill approved this week, an op-ed from the CEO of Weis Markets on the misguided asset test being proposed for food assistance, and much more.


  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new Keystone Research Center report finding that private school bus transportation services in Pennsylvania cost more than when districts provide their own transportation, underscoring that privatization is not always the best option.
  • On voter ID, Chris Lilienthal wrote about this costly plan earlier in the week and later included a link to a news story after its final passage on Wednesday.
  • On food assistance, Chris Lilienthal highlighted an op-ed by Weis Markets CEO David J. Hepfinger explaining what a bad idea it is to impose an assets test on people who are seeking food assistance.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared the podcast of her appearance on WITF's Radio Smart Talk, in which she discussed the future of health and human services in Pennsylvania.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted a news report on a new study that predicts fiscal distress in Pennsylvania school districts thanks to state budget cuts, articles comparing the gas booms in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, and a piece examining whether the settlement between states and mortgage lenders over questionable document processing is accelerating foreclosure activity.

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

Morning Must Reads: Got Gas?, Foreclosures Up, and Layoffs in the Business of News

In petrochemical news this morning, Royal Dutch Shell choose Monaca Pennsylvania for a new cracker plant, there is still no buyer for Sunoco's Philadelphia and Marcus Hook refineries, and more from Paul Krugman on the job hype surrounding natural resource booms.

Morning Must Reads: Predicting School Districts In Distress, Privatization and Hello Düsseldorf!

The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports this morning on a new study that predicts fiscal distress in Pennsylvania school districts thanks to state budget cuts.

Third and State This Week: Math Teachers Getting Pink Slips, Take the Money and Run, and Revenue Update

This week, we blogged about math teachers getting pink slips, a "take the money and run" philosophy on business subsidies, state revenues in February, and much more.


  • On education, Mark Price explained why laying off math teachers, as some districts are doing to address funding shortfalls, is very bad decision that risks harming our long-term economic growth. Michael Wood highlighted a New York Times article on the impact of state cuts to public higher education across the country.
  • On economic development, Mark Price was humming the Steve Miller Band's "Take the Money and Run" when he heard about the closing of a battery company's Lehigh Valley operations, after the facility opened in 2008 with $4 million in business subsidies from the state.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote that February's General Fund revenue collections took a turn for the better in Pennsylvania.
  • And in other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price blogged about top incomes and adultBasic, the economic anxieties of the 1% versus the 99%, and water privatization in Harrisburg.

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

Morning Must Reads: Business Subsidies 101: Take The Money and Run

The Allentown Morning Call reports that a plant operated by International Battery in the Lehigh Valley has closed its doors. The facility opened in 2008 with $4 million in incentives from the commonwealth. 

Morning Must Reads: Water Privatization in Harrisburg and a Taxpayer Financed Hotel in Pittsburgh?

The Harrisburg Patriot News reports this morning that there are several firms interested in buying Harrisburg's water and sewer system.

What Works in Pennsylvania

The Campaign for What Works has a great video illustrating the interconnectedness of the investments our state makes in a variety of areas from early childhood education to public transportation to workforce training. These investments not only improve the quality of life of Pennsylvanians but create jobs and build a stronger economy.

As the campaign says on its home page: "Pennsylvania works when our state budget supports what works."

Take a minute to watch the video and pass it on.

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