Morning Must Reads: Haute Couture, Extended Unemployment Benefits and Nursing Home Cuts

ZoolanderProject Runway fans (don't judge) know that this week is Fashion Week in New York. So in a nod to our fashion forward readers comes a story about an effort to provide more workplace protections for fashion models.

Morning Must Reads: Hard Times, Unemployment Insurance and Marcellus Arm Twisting

Although the economy is recovering, it is important to remember that unemployment remains high and that means many households are struggling to make ends meet. WITF this morning reports on non-food aid from a Central Pennsylvania charity.

NPR's Morning Edition had a very good story on the national controversy surrounding food assistance. 

Meanwhile, the Allentown Morning Call reports that a bill required to enable 17,000 Pennsylvania workers to qualify for federally-funded unemployment insurance has cleared an important hurdle.

Governor's Budget Moves PA in Wrong Direction

Governor Tom Corbett delivered his 2012-13 budget address to a joint session of the state Legislature today. We are still working on our budget analysis at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Check our web site later Tuesday evening.

In the meantime, check out our op-ed below on the Governor's budget originally published in the Allentown Morning Call.

Morning Must Reads: Budget Day

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning previews big cuts to state support for higher education in today's budget proposal from Governor Corbett. Last year's budget hit poor k-12 school districts hard. This year's cuts to higher education, as the Inquirer story illustrates, are likely to result in rising tuition, which will only make it harder for low-income students to gain access to one of the most important institutions we have for reducing inequality. 

Morning Must Reads: Charters A Drag On School District Budgets, One Good Jobs Report Does Not Equal Full Employment

Stories this morning out of York and Delaware County suggest charter schools in urban areas are making it harder for public school districts to balance their budgets.

Paul Krugman explains why one relatively good jobs report does not mean we are getting any nearer to full employment anytime soon.

A Harrisburg Rooster Takes Credit For The Sunrise

A recent tweet (see above) from our good friends over at the Commonwealth Foundation highlights that private-sector job growth in 2011 was the strongest in Pennsylvania since 1999 and links that outcome to state tax and spending policy.

The figure below plots the 12-month moving average of private-sector payrolls in Pennsylvania since 1990. What you will notice about the figure is that in the period following a recession (the areas shaded gray*) private-sector payrolls expand. That's what is known in macroeconomics as an expansion; it's been a characteristic of every business cycle on record since 1854. Given where we are in the business cycle, to link private-sector job growth to 2011 state tax and spending policy is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

Third and State This Week: $300 Million Lost to Driling Tax Inaction, Asset Testing and Happy 1st Birthday to Us

This week, we blogged about the $300 million in revenue lost to legislative inaction on a natural gas drilling tax, proposed asset testing for food assistance, and the top 10 blog posts of the past year in celebration of Third and State's 1st birthday. Plus: Morning Must Reads and another edition of Price of Service Cuts.


  • On the Marcellus Shale, Chris Lilienthal wrote that legislative inaction on a natural gas drilling tax has cost Pennsylvania $300 million in lost revenue.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood shared the latest installment in the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's Price of Service Cuts series, with a look at funding cuts to higher education and how that is helping to make college even more unaffordable for many Pennsylvanians.
  • On poverty and public welfare, Mark Price blogged about Corbett administration-proposed asset testing for food assistance with posts here and here.
  • In other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price wrote about the payroll tax cut and cuts in block grants to local governments; local jobs data and the unemployment debate in Washington; and the value of job training.
  • Finally, Chris Lilienthal shared the top 10 most read blog posts of the past year in honor of Third and State's 1st birthday on February 1.

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

One Year and Still Going Strong

Third and State celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. We launched on February 1, 2011, and 350 posts later we're still going strong.

We couldn't do it without our readers, so we thought it would be fun to take a look back at what posts you liked the most over the past year. And so we bring you a countdown of the top 10 most viewed blog posts at Third and State.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Test Snark, School Police and Property Taxes

Lancaster Rep. Mike Sturla was quoted in Capitolwire (paywall) on a Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) proposal to limit access to SNAP, or food stamp, benefits to households with fewer than $5,500 in assets:

"We're going to take the concept of the safety net and flip it and tell people they have to impoverish themselves before they get the benefits."

This quote caught the eye of the Commonwealth Foundation's Nathan Benefield.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Tests, Layoffs and The Race To Give Away Tax Dollars To Big Oil

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare submitted its final proposal to the federal Food and Nutrition Service for an asset test on SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps).

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