Federal Budget and Taxes

Third and State This Week: Bigfoot, Preventative Care and Health Reform Turns 2

This week at Third and State, we set the record straight about welfare spending in Pennsylvania and explained why it makes sense for insurers to cover preventative health care. We also blogged about property taxes rising as a result of state budget cuts, the second birthday of the Affordable Care Act, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On health care and public welfare, Sharon Ward explained why a recent report on welfare spending in Pennsylvania is a lot like Bigfoot, finding something in the Department of Public Welfare that just doesn't exist.
  • On health care, intern Jheanelle Chambers explained why it is important for health insurance to continue to cover preventative care, which increases both the quality and the length of people's lives. Chris Lilienthal had a post on the positive impact that the Affordable Care Act (which turns 2 today) is having on the lives of millions of Americans.
  • On higher education, Chris Lilienthal shared a chart from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center showing that if the Governor's 2012-13 budget proposal is enacted, Pennsylvania will spend twice as much on prisons as on colleges and universities.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news reports on state budget cuts driving school districts to raise property taxes and cut staff, and some good news for Pittsburgh and Chester County.

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

Lots to Celebrate

With 17 million children with pre-existing conditions no longer being denied coverage, 3.6 million seniors saving on their prescription drugs, and 2 million small business employees securing coverage thanks to tax credits, there are plenty of reasons to say, “Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act!”

Morning Must Reads: Government Spending, Top Incomes and adultBasic

Paul Krugman this morning caps off a series of blog posts over the last week with a column comparing government spending in the recovery following the deep 1981 recession and government spending in the recovery following the 2007 recession. The bottom line: the employment situation now would have been much better if the federal government had done more to provide aid to state and local governments.

Morning Must Reads:The Pain Caucus in Europe and Pennsylvania

Paul Krugman leads off this morning with a review of the havoc created in Europe and here at home by what he calls the Pain Caucus.

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.

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.

Morning Must Reads: Homelessness in Shale Country, Higher Education Cuts and the Federal Budget

NPR this morning broadcast a WPSU story about the rise in homelessness in Tioga County. The story provides a nice reminder that increased economic activity is often associated with rising demands on the social safety net.

In case you missed it on Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer explored the impact of cuts in state funding for higher education.

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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