Education

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.

On Tax Day, Understanding Where Our Tax Dollars Go

With the deadline upon us for filing state and federal tax returns, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has put together a resource web page to help you understand what your tax dollars support. We also highlight reports and educational materials on closing tax loopholes and improving overall tax fairness.

As the chart to the right shows, most of the federal budget supports defense, Social Security and major health programs. As federal policymakers and citizens weigh key decisions about revenues and expenditures, it is instructive to examine what the federal government does with the money it collects. The chart is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Public investments by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania educate our children, keep our communities safe, move people to work over roads and transit systems, and care for seniors, children and people with disabilities. More than 80 cents of every state General Fund dollar is spent on education, health and human services, or public safety. See the graphic below detailing General Fund spending in 2012-13.

Pennsylvania Could Lose Billions Under Ryan Budget

Federal Medicaid and CHIP Funding Cut by 31% Under Ryan Block Grant in 2023Federal deficit reduction should not fall squarely on the backs of low-income and middle-class families. Yet that is exactly what happens in the budget plan approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.

That plan, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, 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.

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!

Three New Tax Breaks Will Cost PA Schools and Services

After making deep cuts to schools, early childhood education, and health and human services, Pennsylvania lawmakers are now considering new tax breaks that will largely benefit a small number of higher-income earners.

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!

Friday Video: How Tax Cuts Are Taking a Big Bite Out of the Budget Pie

The week, advocates delivered half a pie to every Pennsylvania legislator to remind them that a decade of large tax cuts for businesses has left schools, health care services, and local communities with a smaller share of the budget pie. Watch the following three-minute video for all the highlights.

Tax Cuts Take a Bite Out of State Budget Pie

Half a PieAdvocates delivered half a pie to every Pennsylvania legislator today. Why half a pie?

To remind them that a decade of large tax cuts for businesses has left schools, health care services, and local communities with a smaller share of the state budget pie.

Tax cuts enacted since 1999 have drained close to $3 billion this year alone from state coffers. The cost of the tax cuts has more than tripled since 2002, with little to show for it. Too often, these tax cuts are put in place with very little accountability or obligation for companies to create jobs. In fact, Pennsylvania ranked 27th in job growth in 1999-2000 but fell to 34th in 2011-12.

Podcast: Helping You Understand Education Policy In PA

In my interview with Triad Strategies last week, I discussed the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's new Education Facts Page, which pulls together data and analyses on public, charter and private education in the commonwealth. We hope this web page will inform dialogue around state education funding and how we can provide better supports to students in our schools. Watch the short podcast below.

Education from Triad Strategies on Vimeo.

Third and State This Week: The Governor's Budget Proposal and More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Governor's proposed 2013-14 budget, which does little to undo the damage done by the deep cuts to education and health care enacted during his first two years in office. Plus a look at lost Postal Service jobs in Pennsylvania, as news comes that Saturday mail delivery will be ending.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's statement on the Governor's proposed budget, her pre-budget op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer outlining what the budget should look like, and her post-budget op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette analyzing the Governor's proposal.
  • On education, Kate Atkins posted infographics showing the proposed budget does little to reverse cuts to public schools and higher education.
  • And on jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about a 21% decline in Postal Service employment in Pennsylvania since 2007, as news comes that Saturday mail delivery is coming to an end.
IN OTHER NEWS:
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's detailed analysis of the Governor's 2013-14 budget proposal.

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

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