Education

Third and State This Week: Budget Analysis, Food Security Danger, Unremarkable Private Job Growth & Payday Lenders

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, the danger facing America's leading food security program, Pennsylvania's unremarkable private-sector job performance, and a gambit by payday lenders that backfired.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's detailed analysis of the 2013-14 budget, and Michael Wood explained that tax changes enacted along with the budget made some steps toward reform but weigh the state's Tax Code down with more special interest tax breaks.
  • On the federal budget, Sharon Ward wrote that legislation separating agricultural programs from nutrition supports funded through the farm bill poses a threat to food assistance for millions of struggling parents, children, and vulnerable citizens.
  • On jobs, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Pennsylvania’s private-sector job growth has almost stalled since about a year into Governor Corbett's term.
  • On consumer protection, Mark Price explained how payday lenders won few friends in the state Senate when they convinced House leaders to insert language into a must-pass Fiscal Code bill stating it was the intent of House and Senate leaders to enact payday legislation in the fall.

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Everything You Need to Know about 2013-14 Budget

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has released a full detailed analysis of the 2013-14 state budget plan spending $28.376 billion, roughly $645 million (or 2.3%) more than in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the budget into law late in the evening of June 30, 2013. Overall, the plan is $64 million less than the Governor proposed in February, reflecting nearly $113 million in reduced spending for public school pensions and school employees’ Social Security payments along with a shift of $90 million in General Fund spending off budget to other funds.

2012-13 General Fund Summary
(in $ Millions)
  2012-13 2013-14 Gov. 2013-14 Final Change f/ 2012-13 % Change
General Fund $27,731 $28,440 $28,376 +$645 2.3%

Third and State This Week: The PA Budget and Connecting the Dots Between Wage Growth and Unemployment

The week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, school funding, transportation funding, and the Medicaid expansion. Plus we shared a graphic connecting the dots between wage growth and unemployment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about passage of the $28.375 billion spending plan for 2013-14, and Sharon Ward shared her recent PennLive.com op-ed on the opportunity — and obligation — the Pennsylvania Senate had to really close corporate tax loopholes with this budget.
  • On school funding, Sharon Ward wrote that the Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.
  • On transportation, Michael Wood wrote about dueling House and Senate bills to provide between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for transportation projects. Neither plan was passed before the Legislature left for its summer recess.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee's approval of legislation to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the full Senate vote on the bill, and how the House derailed the effort before adjourning for the summer.
  • And on wages, Mark Price shared a graphic from Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth.

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Pa. Legislature Approves $28.375 Billion Budget

The Pennsylvania Senate voted 33-17 around 4 p.m. today to approve a $28.375 billion state budget. The House followed this evening with a party-line 111-92 vote to approve the budget, and the Governor signed it Sunday evening.

The budget adds $22.5 million in funding to the basic education subsidy line over the House proposal and $32.5 million over what Governor Corbett proposed in February. Funding for prisons is increased, and a 10% funding cut enacted last year to county human services remains.

Get a full overview here.

Related welfare, tax and school code bills may not get done until Monday or Tuesday.

Philadelphia School Funding Agreement Comes with Strings Attached

The Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is expected to take up several bills today that provide some help to the school district, as it seeks to close a $304 million budget deficit and prevent the layoff of more than 3,800 teachers and staff. The budget could be finalized when the clock runs out at midnight tonight.

Third and State This Week: PA Budget, Closing Loopholes, Funding Schools, and More

The week is not quite over, as Harrisburg remains abuzz through the weekend with budget-related activity. Keep following Third and State for updates through the weekend and into next week.

So far this week, we blogged about the Pennsylvania state budget, a new poll on education funding, a real opportunity for the Senate to close tax loopholes, slowing job growth in the Marcellus Shale, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report, the problem with 401(k) plans, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood had a Friday afternoon budget update, blogged about the Senate passage of funding packages for the state-related universities, and wrote about the opportunity before the Pennsylvania Senate to close corporate tax loopholes.
  • On education, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a new poll finding that public school funding is a top concern among Pennsylvania voters, even as lawmakers debate a budget that locks in nearly 85% of the classroom cuts enacted two years ago. He also shared a letter to the editor making the case for delaying an unaffordable business tax cut to restore critical educational opportunities for Pennsylvania students.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg highlighted several recent news and magazine articles showing that 401(k) plans are a bad deal for workers, providing much less retirement security than defined benefit pension plans.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price blogged about new data showing that job growth in natural gas extraction has slowed as falling gas prices have led to a reduction in drilling activity in Pennsylvania
  • And on jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that Pennsylvania's May jobs report was a mixed bag.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's policy brief on why lawmakers should adopt a strong addback bill to recover some of the expense of costly business tax cuts enacted over the past 10 years.
  • Read findings from a new poll, commissioned by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and Public Citizens for Children and Youth, showing that public school funding is a top concern among Pennsylvania voters. Read a Philadelphia Inquirer report on the poll.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's policy brief setting the record straight on state education funding and get the latest budget news here.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's policy brief on the tens of thousands of veterans in the state who could benefit from expanding Medicaid, and read a Delaware County Daily Times editorial citing the analysis.
  • Read the Keystone Research Center's memo to lawmakers on how a Senate bill modeled on the Governor pension plan will cost taxpayers more than the current public pension systems, and another memo on a report from Pennsylvania's Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) confirming the high cost to taxpayers of closing the state's pension plans. Learn more about public pension reform here.

Time Is Running Out for Students Across PA

Passing on a great letter to the editor written by Haverford Township School Board member Lawrence A. Feinberg and published in several newspapers across the state. Share in on Facebook here.

New Poll: School Funding Top Concern for Pennsylvanians

Public school funding is a top concern among Pennsylvania voters, according to a new poll that comes as state lawmakers are debating a budget locking in nearly 85% of the classroom cuts enacted two years ago.

Third and State This Week: School Funding Cuts, Medicaid Expansion Good for Veterans & Drilling Fee Fails to Keep Up

This week at Third and State, we set the record straight about state education funding cuts and how Pennsylvania's drilling impact fee is failing to keep pace with growth in natural gas production. We also wrote about growing momentum to delay a corporate tax cut and the tens of thousands of uninsured veterans who would benefit from expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On education, Chris Lilienthal blogged that nearly 85% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in the past two years remain intact in the state budget plan before the Legislature.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about news the state Senate plans to vote next week on expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for uninsured veterans.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about a new report showing that a modest natural gas severance tax would raise twice as much revenue as Pennsylvania's local impact fee and do a better job keeping up with expected growth in natural gas production.
  • And on state budget and taxes, we highlighted recent news stories showing that momentum is building in Harrisburg to delay a tax cut for corporations next year in order to restore funding to public schools and other budget priorities.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Pa. House Budget Locks in Most of the School Funding Cuts

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out with a new policy brief setting the record straight on some recent claims made about state education funding in the commonwealth.

Education funding was a hot topic last week when the state House debated a 2013-14 budget bill — a plan that locks in nearly 85% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in 2011-12.

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