Federal Budget and Taxes

Lifitng Millions of Americans Out of Poverty

Check out the following Off the Charts blog post from Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At a time when the U.S. House is advocating deep cuts to food assistance and other programs that help struggling families stay afloat, it is important to recognize just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.

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:

America’s Food Security Program in Danger

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted 216-208 to pass a bill that separates agricultural support programs from nutrition supports funded through the farm bill.

The biggest of these programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. It is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. If the program is weakened, millions of struggling parents, their children, and other vulnerable individuals will be harmed.

Third and State Recap: State Budget News, Payday Lending, Pensionomics, Education Funding & More

Over the past two weeks at Third and State, we blogged about the latest on the state budget and education funding, May's revenue report, and why policymakers must prioritize investments in Pennsylvania's future over new tax cuts. We also wrote about how public pensions inject millions into local economies and why payday lending, by any name, is still a debt trap.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward blogged about the state House Republicans' 2013-14 budget plan and shared a video of her appearance this week on the Pennsylvania Cable Network where she made the case for closing tax loopholes, delaying new tax cuts, and restoring funding to schools and human services in the next budget. Kate Atkins blogged about school district and county officials from across the state who came to Harrisburg this week with a message for state lawmakers: prioritize investments in our schools, county health services, and infrastructure over new tax cuts. And Michael Wood wrote that while General Fund revenues are ahead of estimates in May, this year’s revenue surplus is unlikely to reach the $232 million forecasted back in February.
  • On public pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a Keystone Research Center report showing that pension benefits earned by retired teachers, first responders and public health workers inject millions of dollars into regional and local economies across Pennsylvania.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about Senate legislation that would legalize predatory payday loans with annual interest rates above 300%. Payday loans are described in the bill as "micro loans," but as Mark writes, payday lending, by any name, takes advantage of people in financial distress.
  • Finally, on education, we posted a video from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's May 28 webinar laying out the facts on state cuts to education in recent years.

IN OTHER NEWS:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Time is running out. Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Thursday, June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.
  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, June 18 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar highlighting the latest on the 2013-14 state budget. Learn more and register to participate.

Third and State This Week: Costly Pensions Plan, a Tax Cut that Should Be Delayed, Pittsburgh’s Economy & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the problems with the Governor’s pension plan, how critical the expansion of Medicaid health coverage is for low-income working families in Pennsylvania, why the state should delay a planned corporate tax cut, and a new report on how Pittsburgh’s economy is doing better than other neighboring rust-belt cities.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared his Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed explaining that the Governor’s pension proposal will increase the state's pension debt and cost taxpayers more.
  • On health care, Jamar Thrasher blogged that if Pennsylvania rejects federal dollars to expand Medicaid, many of the state’s low-income working families will have nowhere to turn for health coverage.
  • With state budget action likely to pick up after Memorial Day, Chris Lilienthal blogged that policymakers should delay the planned phaseout of a corporate tax in order to preserve critical investments that make Pennsylvania a good place to live and do business.
  • On the economy, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a new study finding Pittsburgh's economy has fared better than neighboring rust-belt cities Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit.

IN OTHER NEWS:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, May 28 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar on education funding in Pennsylvania. Learn more and register to participate.
  • Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Thursday, June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Morning Must Read: A No to Expanding Medicaid Will Leave Many in PA Out in the Cold

Pennsylvania is not the only state undecided about whether to expand Medicaid health coverage to low-income working families. As The Washington Post reports

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the expansion, and 14 are planning to decline. But 16 [including Pennsylvania] remain in limbo as lawmakers clash in the final days and weeks of the legislative calendar, when many must come to a decision in time for the provision to kick in next year.

We have blogged (here and here) in recent weeks about reports showing how an expansion of Medicaid will benefit Pennsylvania residents both from an economic and public health standpoint.

One aspect of the debate that has not gotten as much attention is that an expanded Medicaid is the only option for many low-income working Pennsylvanians.

Third and State This Week: A Missed Opportunity, Unpaid Internships, Expanding Medicaid and Mother's Day

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a missed opportunity in the House to close corporate tax loopholes, the troubling trend of employers taking on unpaid interns to do work once performed by paid staff, the public health benefits of expanding Medicaid coverage, more on Pennsylvania's job growth ranking, and a Mother's Day look at the number of Pennsylvania moms who benefit from key federal tax credits that may be at risk.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward shared her statement on the passage of a House bill enacting hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts. The bill represented a missed opportunity to close tax loopholes, Sharon wrote. We also posted our live Twitter coverage of the House floor debate on that bill.
  • On higher education and the economy, Jamar Thrasher blogged about the troubling trend of employers recruiting unpaid interns to perform duties that were once performed by paid staff.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote that expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania will make Pennsylvanians healthier and more financially stable — and even save lives.
  • On jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg delved a little deeper into Pennsylvania's job growth performance in light of recent remarks by the Governor.
  • And with Mother's Day this weekend, Sharon Ward blogged about the hundreds of thousands of working moms in Pennsylvania who rely on the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits to make ends meet. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Tuesday, May 14 from 4 to 5 p.m. for a webinar on making the Medicaid expansion a reality in Pennsylvania. Learn more and register to participate.
  • Join the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on June 13 for our Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Harrisburg. Learn more and purchase tickets.

670,000 Working Moms in PA Rely on Key Federal Tax Credits

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, we are highlighting new research showing that 670,000 working moms in Pennsylvania rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Both tax credits also lifted nearly 118,000 Pennsylvania children out of poverty annually between 2009 and 2011.

More Evidence that Expanding Health Care Is Good for PA's Economy and Budget

I know, we're starting to sound like a broken record here, but two new studies once again demonstrate that Pennsylvania’s economy and state budget will get a big boost if the commonwealth accepts federal funding allocated to expand Medicaid health coverage.

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.
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