Economy

As Economy Picks Up, PA Revenues Take Turn for the Better

After months of falling short of targets, Pennsylvania's General Fund tax collections edged past the monthly estimate in February by $16 million, or about 1%. The good showing was driven largely by higher-than-expected personal income tax collections. Corporate tax collections continued to trail estimates.

The improving revenue picture for both January and February may signal that tax collections (other than corporate levies) have taken a turn for the better.

Morning Must Reads: Tough Times Discounted Salmon Versus High Anxiety

Bruce Bartlett this morning discusses the tendency for very high-income households to get press when they have fallen on hard times. 

Third and State This Week: adultBasic One Year Later, What Works in PA and Income Inequality

This week, we blogged about "What Works in Pennsylvania," the one-year anniversary of adultBasic's end, income inequality and cuts to higher education, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a year of struggle for the Pennsylvanians who lost their adultBasic health care coverage this time last year.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward sat down with Tony May of Triad Strategies to discuss the 2012-13 state budget and shared a video of the interview. Chris Lilienthal also shared a video from the Campaign for What Works illustrating a key message for lawmakers: "Pennsylvania works when our state budget supports what works."
  • In the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price blogged about how cuts to higher ed funding contribute to income inequality, transit cuts and job training, how high unemployment is straining the safety net, and a roundup on closing tax loopholes, preventative care and health reform.

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

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.

Morning Must Reads: High Unemployment Strains the Safety Net and Underwater Mortgages

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports this morning on the continued strain that high unemployment is putting on the safety net in Pennsylvania.

Third and State This Week: Human Services Block Grant, Mortgage Help and Rising Student Loan Debt

This week, we blogged about a proposed state block grant and funding cut for county human services, the end of a mortgage assistance program in Pennsylvania, high student loan debt and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a table from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center explaining the Governor's proposal to combine funding for a variety of county-level human services into a single block grant and cut it by 20%.
  • On housing, Mark Price wrote about how the state's decision to end the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) could harm Pennsylvania's economic recovery.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price blogged about news stories on the student loan "debt bomb," the rise in homelessness in shale country, extended unemployment benefits and prevailing wage, and why delaying school construction is penny wise but pound foolish.

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

Morning Must Reads: Recovery Act Turns 3 and the Student Loan Debt Bomb

Three years have passed since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Michael Linden of the Center for American Progress explains the impact of the Recovery Act on the economy. 

 

On the state budget, WITF shares a link to help you estimate the impact of cuts to education spending in your area.

End of Mortgage Assistance Could Undermine Economic Recovery

Economic forecasters predicting strong economic growth in the next several years rest those hopes on a robust recovery in residential construction. In light of that, The Philadelphia Inquirer has some troubling news this morning in a story about a surge in foreclosure filings over the last 12 months.

The rise in foreclosure filings may be the result of lenders moving forward with long planned foreclosures rather than a worsening of economic conditions. More troubling is the rise in 90-day delinquencies, which could be the result of the end of Pennsylvania's Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). The permanent end to HEMAP also means rising costs for future taxpayers.

Morning Must Reads: Unemployment Benefits Extended, Prevailing Wage Change Stalls and Running Government Like a Business

What a difference an election year makes. Last year was full of pointless brinksmanship over federal policy issues that will take several decades to solve. Those battles at times looked like they threatened the near term health of the economy. 

The New Year is shaping up to be very different. The New York Times reports this morning that a deal has been struck to extend the payroll tax reduction and extended unemployment benefits through the end of the year. Tentatively, it looks as if efforts to weaken the unemployment insurance system have been blocked. Both the payroll tax reduction and extended unemployment benefits were set to expire at the end of February, and the failure to extend them was on most economists' lists of things that could weaken the economy in 2012.

Third and State This Week: The Governor's Budget, Marcellus Shale and Unemployment

This week, we blogged about the Governor's new budget proposal, the passage of a Marcellus Shale package, private-sector job growth, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • Governor Corbett released his 2012-13 state budget this week. Sharon Ward shared her op-ed on the Governor's budget proposal, and Chris Lilienthal highlighted key points from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's analysis of the budget.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about the Legislature's passage of a shale package, including a drilling fee that has one of the lowest rates in the nation.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price compared claims linking private-sector job growth to 2011 state tax and spending policy with a rooster taking credit for the sunrise.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price shared news reports on how charter schools are putting a drain on school district budgets, what to expect on Budget Day, movement on state legislation that would enable 17,000 Pennsylvania workers to qualify for federally-funded unemployment insurance, and efforts in Washington to weaken extended unemployment benefits.

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

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