Third and State This Week: The Manufacturing Jobs Score, Charter School Bill Dies & a Win Against Corporate Welfare

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on manufacturing job growth by presidential administration, the stalling of a charter school bill in the House, a rare victory in the endless fight against corporate welfare, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report, and much more!


  • On manufacturing jobs, Stephen Herzenberg highlighted a report he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project on state-level manufacturing job growth and loss across 16 post-World War II presidential administrations.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price offered his quick take on Friday's report showing the commonwealth's jobs picture in September remains headed in the wrong direction. Mark Price also blogged about a new report finding that skills shortages in manufacturing are a local, not a national, problem.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about a food corporation's withdrawal of a request for a property tax abatement a day after Michael Wood of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center raised questions about it in an op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a charter school reform bill that stalled this week in the state House.
  • On income inequality, Mark Price blogged about a piece in The New York Times that drew parallels between income inequality practices in old Venice and present day America. Mark also wrote that the biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States will be runaway inequality.

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

Charter Bill Stalls in House as Lawmakers from Both Parties Raise Questions

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After passing out of the state Senate Tuesday, a much debated charter school bill stalled in the House of Representatives this week due to an apparent lack of support from House Republicans, as the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports. With the Legislature now recessed for the upcoming elections and leaders of both chambers vowing not to schedule any legislative votes in the lame duck session, the bill is not likely to come before lawmakers again until the new legislative session next year.

Third and State This Week: Voter ID Before Supreme Court, Fewer Uninsured Americans & State Revenue Update

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Voter ID arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, new Census data showing a decrease in the number of uninsured Americans, state revenue collections through August, and much more.


  • On the Voter ID Law, Jamar Thrasher wrote about arguments before the state Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the law during which a few justices raised concerns about the number of voters impacted and asked why the commonwealth was rushing to implement the law for the fall election.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Census Bureau data released this week showing that more Americans were insured in 2011 than the year before, thanks largely to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 
  • On income inequality and poverty, Mark Price wrote about the bad news in the Census data — incomes are down and poverty is up in Pennsylvania compared to before the recession. Chris had also blogged about what to expect in the Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about state revenue collections through August but noted that September will tell a fuller story about the state's revenue picture.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news stories on the Chicago teachers strike and an analysis of the job growth performance of past presidential administrations.

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

Morning Must Reads: Chicago Teachers On Strike and Job Trends by President

A Picket At Lane Tech in Chicago 09/10/2012With no agreement reached last night between Chicago's teachers union and the Chicago Public Schools, 25,000 teachers are on strike today in the Windy City.

Third and State This Week: A Jobs Update, More on State of Working PA & Public-Sector Job Losses Hit Women

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the State of Working Pennsylvania, the latest U.S. jobs report, the disproportionate number of women affected by public-sector job losses and much more.


  • On the State of Working Pennsylvania, Mark Price blogged that working and middle-class families have seen their incomes decline over the past decade and may end the next decade with less income from work than they started with in 2010.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged that while U.S. unemployment declined in August, the overall report is a disappointment, with more people dropping out of the labor force and growth in payrolls falling below the average for the year. Mark also highlighted what the national experts are saying about today's jobs report.
  • On women and the economy, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new report finding that women are losing jobs in the economic recovery thanks to state and local cuts, especially to education and social services.
  • On state tax policy, Chris Lilienthal shared a Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial calling for an excise tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, as a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that an increasing numbers of teens are smoking cigars and using smokeless tobacco.
  • On public welfare issues, Mark Price highlighted an Erie Times-News editorial that criticized a change in payroll systems made by the Department of Public Welfare that has delayed paychecks for workers who provide care to Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

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

Morning Must Reads: The Cracker Plant Deal's Impact on Schools and Jobs for Women Lagging

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Brian O'Neill writes about the impact on local schools of a tax deal for Royal Dutch Shell to build a petrochemical plant along the Ohio River in southwestern Pennsylvania. The so-called cracker plant would take the place of a zinc smelting plant that is moving south. The tax deal for Shell will end up costing the Center Valley School District $275,000 in property tax revenue, even as the new facility and related growth are expected to bring in more students.

Third and State This Week: State of Working PA, New Online Sales Tax Rules & Honoring Work on Labor Day

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the State of Working Pennsylvania, new rules that will close an online sales tax loophole (at least a little bit), new budget guidelines for 2013-14, honoring work on Labor Day, and much more.


  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote about layoffs in the Pittsburgh School District and the Keystone Research Center's State of Working Pennsylvania report that came out this week. The Keystone report concludes that Pennsylvania and the nation need a new policy direction to lift up working and middle-income families.
  • On state tax policy, Michael Wood blogged about a rule change that will level the playing field somewhat between online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores by requiring retailers like Amazon, with a physical presence in Pennsylvania, to collect sales tax on online purchases.
  • On state policy, Jamar Thrasher highlighted news reports on new 2013-14 budget guidelines from the Corbett administration and a new type of voter ID introduced this week.
  • And in honor of Labor Day, Mark Price highlighted a few commentaries honoring work and calling for a middle class-friendly economic policy.

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

Morning Must Reads: More On Layoffs in the Pittsburgh School District and State of Working PA

State of Working PA 2012I'm back! Unfortunately, I will not be appearing in a film with 80s action stars, but I will once again be dishing out news and policy analysis each morning. I want to thank all my regular readers who organized that petition to get me back blogging (yeah, I didn't see it either; I'm sure people were just busy).

I took a break to finish up the State of Working Pennsylvania, which by the way came out Wednesday morning. Here is the coverage so far.

Morning Must Reads: New Budget Guidelines Envision Even More Cuts Next Year and a New Voter ID Debuts

Less than two months into the new fiscal year, the Corbett administration is out with internal budgetary guidelines for the 2013-14 fiscal year — and, you guessed it, more cuts are on the menu.

The administration cites declining federal funds and increased mandatory state expenses, including higher costs for health care and prisons. The new guidelines specifically tell state departments and agencies that if they lose federal funding, they should not request additional state funding to offset the loss.

Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center asks in a story by the PA Independent whether that blanket approach is wise.

Third and State This Week: PA Falling Short on Voter ID & $500 Million Lost to Natural Gas Tax Giveaway

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a report on problems with the state's implementation of the Voter ID Law, revenue lost to the state by not having a Marcellus Shale drilling tax, private schools choosing "Opportunity Scholarship" students and more.


  • On the Voter ID Law, Sharon Ward wrote about a recent Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center report finding that the commonwealth is not ready to issue a photo ID to everyone who needs one for the November election.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged that while natural gas drillers extracted over $8 billion worth of natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale between July 2009 and June 2012, the commonwealth lost out on hundreds of millions in revenue by not having a drilling tax in place.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a Reading Eagle article explaining that private schools will be able to pick and choose students who are eligible for Opportunity Scholarships.
  • And Chris Lilienthal had a Must Read this week about the restoration of mortgage assistance for struggling homeowners and the appointment of a school vouchers advocate to lead the financial recovery process at the Chester Upland School District.

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

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