Federal Budget and Taxes

Third and State This Week: Union Membership, Tax Loopholes and a Medicaid Opportunity Too Good to Pass Up

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on union membership, tax loophole bills approved by a state House committee, Republican governors opting in to the expansion of Medicaid and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On a new report on union membership, Stephen Herzenberg channeled Mark Twain to write that the reports of unions' death are greatly exaggerated.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about two bills that passed the House Finance Committee this week and would create new loopholes in Pennsylvania's tax system.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward wrote about growing bipartisan agreement that the optional expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is too good an opportunity to pass up.
  • On the federal budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a table from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing how much in across-the-board federal cuts are slated to take effect in March under the fiscal cliff deal.

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

About that Federal Budget Sequester...

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a table showing how the fiscal cliff deal reduced the 2013 federal budget sequester, automatic across-the-board cuts now scheduled to take effect March 1. The cuts had originally been slated for January 2, but the fiscal cliff deal delayed them.

As the table at the Center's Off the Charts Blog shows, more than $85 billion in sequester cuts are still on tap for 2013 unless Congress acts.

Fiscal Cliff Deal Reduces Automatic Budget Cuts for 2013

Third and State Recap: The Medicaid Expansion, Lost Education Jobs and Costs of Lottery Privatization

Over the past two weeks at Third and State, we blogged about lost jobs in public schools, the latest state jobs report, what's at stake in the decision to expand Pennsylvania's Medicaid program, how much lottery privatization could end up costing seniors' programs, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about new data showing employment in Pennsylvania's public schools was at a decade low in the 2011-12 school year. Mark Price also put Pennsylvania's December jobs report in some perspective.
  • On health care, Michael Wood highlighted an infographic showing that if Pennsylvania opts out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, it will create a coverage gap for working families earning between 46% and 100% of poverty.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Corbett administration's plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery could end up costing seniors' programs a billion dollars or more.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price wrote about the latest numbers on direct jobs created by shale drilling, which accounts for just 0.38% of all Pennsylvania jobs.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins wrote about Bucks County students who served up a tasty five-star meal to area elected officials last week to underscore the value of investing in career training and technical education.

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

Lunch Is Served: Bucks Students Make a Tasty Case for Investing in Career Training

If the high school students were a little nervous as they prepared lunch Thursday for several Bucks County elected officials, they didn’t show it.

Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind

Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a great deal for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.

One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.

However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).

Those families between 46% and 100% of poverty earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.

We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.

Third and State This Week: What to Make of Fiscal Cliff Deal, PA Revenue Update & Slow Down Lottery Privatization

It was a short week at Third and State coming off the holidays, but we still have a few must reads for you. We blogged about the Fiscal Cliff deal, the Corbett administration's decision to slow down the lottery privatization train and the latest on state revenue collections.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward wrote that the Fiscal Cliff deal reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood blogged about December revenue collections which put the state $171 million ahead of estimates midway through the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the Corbett administration made the right decision in slowing down the lottery privatization train and that even more time was needed for a full and transparent review.

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

What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?

Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal. Take our two-question survey.

The agreement reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled. The urgency of the Fiscal Cliff has dissipated, but significant threats remain to federal funding for state and local services as well as refundable tax credits for low-income working families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Third and State This Week: Few in PA Get Top Tax Cuts, Single Bid for PA Lottery, Minimum Wage Boost & Latest on PA Jobs

Note: Third and State is taking a well-deserved break from December 23, 2012 through the end of the year. We will be back in action January 2, 2013. See you then.

This week at Third and State, we blogged about new analyses finding that few Pennsylvanians would benefit from extending tax cuts for high-income earners and that questions remain about the plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery. Plus, a look at the 10 states that will give minimum wage workers a raise in the New Year and the latest Pennsylvania jobs report.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward shared a new analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center finding that President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg observed that "one is the loneliest number" especially when it comes to the number of bids received by the commonwealth to privatize the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Steve's post highlights the findings of a recent Keystone Research Center policy brief on the lottery plan.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that the decline in Pennsylvania's unemployment rate in November is a welcome change, but that the jobless rate remains unchanged from a year ago at 7.8%.
  • On wages, Jamar Thrasher blogged about 10 states (none of which are called Pennsylvania) that will increase their minimum wage rates in the New Year.
  • Finally, Chris Lilienthal shared charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities here and here providing some perspective in the debate over extending the Bush tax cuts.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center issued a statement saying that a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce/IHS report on Pennsylvania's energy future makes inflated claims about gas drilling's impact on job growth and tax revenue, while ignoring the costs that drilling imposes on citizens, the environment, and communities.

Few in PA Would Be Affected by Ending High-income Tax Cuts

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out today with a new analysis finding that President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.

In over half of the state's 67 counties, fewer than 1 in 100 residents (that's 1%) would pay the higher marginal tax rate on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.

The Bush Tax Cuts in Charts, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared some charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing just how expensive the Bush tax cuts for high-income earners have been and will continue to be if policymakers extend them.

Today I wanted to highlight a few other charts from the Center to provide some more perspective in the debate over extending tax cuts for top earners and reducing the federal deficit.

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