Economy

Second Prize ... Two Evenings with Steve Forbes

The Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania (MASCPA), headquartered in York, has been led for a decade by Mike Smeltzer, a Tea Party Republican ... who is also a good friend and partner on workforce development issues.

When Mike ran in a Republican Congressional primary in 2010, I offered to emulate suburban Philadelphia Republicans — the "Rendellicans" — who supported Governor Rendell by organizing the "Smelocrats." For some reason, Mike didn't take me up on this offer.

Third and State This Week: A Call to Close Loopholes on Tax Day, Pensions and Latest PA Job Numbers

This week at Third and State, we marked Tax Day by blogging about where our tax dollars go and why Pennsylvania should close corporate tax loopholes. We also wrote about our analysis of the Governor's corporate tax cut plan, our latest Pension Primer, and the Pennsylvania job numbers for March. Plus, a radio podcast on the state of the American economy that featured Mark Price.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On Tax Day, Chris Lilienthal highlighted infographics and other resources showing you where your state and federal tax dollars go. Sharon Ward shared her Harrisburg Patriot-News op-ed calling on state lawmakers to close loopholes and get Pennsylvania's fiscal house in order before considering new tax cuts. Finally, Kate Atkins shared photos from a Tax Day event in Harrisburg where volunteers made a call to close loopholes.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about Governor Corbett's plan to cut corporate tax rates by 30% over a decade. Noticeably absent from the plan is any effort to close corporate tax loopholes that have drained resources from schools, universities, and county human services.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Governor Corbett's pension plan has a serious case of pension deficit disorder — if enacted, it will increase the state's pension debt by $5 billion between now and 2019..
  • On jobs and unemployment, Chris Lilienthal passed on a news report on the March job numbers for Pennsylvania. Mark Price shared a podcast of a Minnesota Public Radio show where he and journalist Heidi Moore discussed jobs and the state of the American economy.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Keystone Research Center released the fourth installment in its Pension Primer series this week. You can read all the Pension Primers and Stephen Herzenberg's testimony before the Pennsylvania State House Government Committee at KRC's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's full analysis of the Governor's proposal to enact costly new business tax cuts in the years ahead.
  • Read PBPC's statement opposing House legislation that creates tax breaks to subsidize new markets for natural gas producers at the expense of schools and other priorities.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join Steve Herzenberg of the Keystone Research Center on April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

Radio Podcast: Workers Drop Out of the Labor Market

I was on Minnesota Public Radio this week with journalist Heidi Moore to provide some context on jobs and the state of the American economy. Listen to the full show at the player below.

Third and State Recap: Disappointing Job Growth, Ryan Budget's Impact on PA, Revenue Update, Frack Attack & More

After taking a break last week, Third and State is back with a blog recap for the past two weeks. We blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report and Pennsylvania revenue update, the billions Pennsylvania could lose under Congressman Paul Ryan's budget, Ed Rendell making the case for gas drilling in New York, how "Tax Freedom Day" overstates the taxes most Americans pay, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that U.S. job growth continued to disappoint in March.
  • On federal tax and budget issues, Sharon Ward blogged about how Paul Ryan's budget cuts critical federal funding for Pennsylvania's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services, while providing big new tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals. We also wrote about tax credits for working families that are in jeopardy in federal deficit reduction talks. Finally, Chris Lilienthal blogged that the Tax Foundation's "Tax Freedom Day" presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward blogged about how former Governor Ed Rendell got into some hot water last week with an op-ed in the New York Daily News touting the economic benefits of hydrofracking. Mark Price shared new data on natural gas-related employment in Pennsylvania.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote that state revenue collections fell short of projections in four of the last five months, which could put 2013-14 spending in jeopardy.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared a recent op-ed she wrote explaining why Pennsylvania should take a federal opportunity to expand health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Chris Lilienthal explained how you can let your lawmakers know that expanding health coverage is the right choice for Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a recent report finding that the nation's poor students are not attending the nation's top colleges and universities.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is launching a new policy webinar series next week, starting with one Tuesday that will debunk the tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
  • Read PBPC's full analysis of Pennsylvania's March revenue report.
  • Learn more about the threat facing federal tax credits for working families — including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

U.S. Job Growth Continues to Disappoint in March

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 88,000 in March while the unemployment rate stood at 7.6%, little changed from the month before, according to a report this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bill McBride at Calculated Risk wrote Thursday that the consensus forecast was for an increase in nonfarm payrolls of 193,000 and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.7%.

Protect Crucial Tax Credits for Working Families in PA

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center put out the following action alert today.

As Congress debates a plan to reduce the deficit, one thing is clear — deficit reduction should not fall on the backs of low-income working families.

Yet that is exactly what happens in a budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21. The House plan makes a number of changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that could end up costing working families billions.

Third and State This Week: PA Jobs Update, Special Tax Break Bills, and How Sequestration Got Its Name

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the latest on Pennsylvania jobs, how special tax breaks are coming at the expense of classrooms and communities, and how those across-the-board federal spending cuts became known as "sequestration."

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about the Pennsylvania jobs report for February. The state's unemployment rate declined slightly, driven by a decline in the state's labor force. Mark also shared an earlier podcast where he explained that weak employment growth and strong labor force growth over the past several months in Pennsylvania meant there have been fewer new job openings available for a growing number of new job seekers.
  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal wrote that after making deep cuts to schools, early childhood education, and health services, Pennsylvania lawmakers are now considering new tax breaks that will largely benefit a small number of higher-income earners. Sharon Ward shared another segment of her recent interview with Triad Strategies where she explained that the state cost of corporate tax cuts has more than tripled since 2002, with little to show for it.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a primer on federal sequestration from Mother Jones magazine that includes how it got that name.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) has more on three special tax break bills moving in the state Legislature that will come at the expense of Pennsylvania schools and communities.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

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

PA's Unemployment Rate Drops as More Job Seekers Drop Out

Today, the Corbett administration released jobs data for February, and to answer your next question, yes, they did just release January jobs data on March 8. The release schedule gets a little delayed and then compressed at the beginning of each New Year as the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises data through a process called benchmarking.

So on to the numbers: Pennsylvania unemployment fell one-tenth of one percentage point to 8.1% in February. As I explained this morning, with employment growth weak and labor force growth strong, the state's unemployment rate has been rising since last March. Well half of that equation changed this month as employment as measured in the household survey fell by 6,000, and the labor force also fell by 13,000. As a result, the number of unemployed fell, and the unemployment rate fell very slightly. 

Podcast: As More People Look for Work in PA, There Are Not Enough Jobs to Be Had

I was recently asked whether growth in the Pennsylvania labor market in recent months was a positive sign for the state's economy. It is a welcome sign, but as I explain in this two-minute podcast, there are fewer and fewer new job openings available for these new job seekers. And that has driven up the state's unemployment rate.

Third and State This Week: Budget Pie Day, Cost of Tax Cuts and an Update on State Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the impact of corporate tax cuts on state investments in education and health care, why state lawmakers got half a pie from advocates this week, and the takeaway from Pennsylvania's latest jobs report. Plus we shared a podcast with Sharon Ward on education policy in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state taxes and the budget, Michael Wood blogged about a new Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) policy brief showing that the skyrocketing cost of corporate tax cuts are competing with state funding for schools, the state’s colleges and universities, early childhood education, and human services. 
  • With business tax cuts taking a larger share of the budget pie these days, Chris Lilienthal wrote about how advocates with the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition delivered half a pie to every state legislator this week to send a message that Pennsylvania needs real tax reform. We also shared a 3-minute video with highlights from the Pie Day press conference.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price analyzed the January jobs report for Pennsylvania.
  • And on education, Sharon Ward talked with Triad Strategies about PBPC's new Education Facts Page, which presents data and analysis on public, charter and private education in the commonwealth.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Read PBPC's latest policy brief titled $3 Billion Bill for Corporate Tax Cuts in 2012-13: Reduced Revenue Does Little for Jobs, Undermines Schools and Human Services.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Check out PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page, with more information on the federal opportunity to expand state coverage and how you can take action.
  • And view PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

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

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