Health Care

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.

Third and State This Week: Expanding Health Care Brings Jobs, Governor's Flawed Tax Plan & Tax Credits that Work

The week at Third and State, we blogged about a study showing the economic benefits of expanding Medicaid health coverage in Pennsylvania, the Governor's costly corporate tax cut plan, and two federal tax credits that work for Pennsylvania families.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state taxes, Sharon Ward blogged that Governor Corbett's plan to cut the state's corporate net income tax over 10 years, at a cost of more than $800 million when fully phased in, would come at a time when the commonwealth is having difficulty meeting its current obligations.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a recent study commissioned by the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania finding that the federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage will inject at least $3.2 billion annually into the state’s economy and support 35,000 to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years.
  • On poverty, Chris Lilienthal shared an infographic showing how critical the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are to working families in Pennsylvania.
IN OTHER NEWS:
  • As Tax Day approaches, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) has posted infographics and resources on its web site to help you understand what your tax dollars support and how we can improve overall tax fairness.
  • PBPC Director Sharon Ward published an op-ed on PennLive.com on the need for true state tax reform that closes loopholes and improves accountability, rather than another round of corporate tax cuts.
  • PBPC hosted a webinar debunking tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
  • 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.

Expansion of Health Care Will Boost PA Economy, Hospital Study Finds

Acting on the federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage will give Pennsylvania’s economy a real shot in the arm. As a new study from the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania shows, it will inject at least $3.2 billion annually into the state’s economy and support 35,000 to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years.

Third and State Recap: Disappointing Job Growth, Ryan Budget's Impact on PA, Revenue Update, Frack Attack & More

After taking a break last week, Third and State is back with a blog recap for the past two weeks. We blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report and Pennsylvania revenue update, the billions Pennsylvania could lose under Congressman Paul Ryan's budget, Ed Rendell making the case for gas drilling in New York, how "Tax Freedom Day" overstates the taxes most Americans pay, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that U.S. job growth continued to disappoint in March.
  • On federal tax and budget issues, Sharon Ward blogged about how Paul Ryan's budget 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. We also wrote about tax credits for working families that are in jeopardy in federal deficit reduction talks. Finally, Chris Lilienthal blogged that the Tax Foundation's "Tax Freedom Day" presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward blogged about how former Governor Ed Rendell got into some hot water last week with an op-ed in the New York Daily News touting the economic benefits of hydrofracking. Mark Price shared new data on natural gas-related employment in Pennsylvania.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote that state revenue collections fell short of projections in four of the last five months, which could put 2013-14 spending in jeopardy.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared a recent op-ed she wrote explaining why Pennsylvania should take a federal opportunity to expand health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Chris Lilienthal explained how you can let your lawmakers know that expanding health coverage is the right choice for Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a recent report finding that the nation's poor students are not attending the nation's top colleges and universities.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is launching a new policy webinar series next week, starting with one Tuesday that will debunk the tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
  • Read PBPC's full analysis of Pennsylvania's March revenue report.
  • Learn more about the threat facing federal tax credits for working families — including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
  • 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.

Expanding Health Coverage Smart Thing to Do in PA

Governor Tom Corbett is meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today to discuss the opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage in Pennsylvania. As we await news from that meeting, I wanted to share the following op-ed I co-authored with Raymond Castro of New Jersey Policy Perspective, making the case that Governor Corbett should follow the lead of New Jersey's governor and expand health coverage to hundreds of thousands of hardworking Pennsylvanians.

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.

PA Lawmakers Need to Hear that Extending Health Care Is the Right Choice

Cover the CommonwealthOur state lawmakers in Harrisburg have a choice:

Accept $43 billion in federal funds allocated to help 700,000 Pennsylvanians get health care coverage and to strengthen our state’s health care system.

OR

Leave hundreds of thousands of working people with no options for health coverage and our hospitals and clinics without critical resources.

Third and State This Week: Talking State Budget, February Jobs, Pension Primers, and Income Inequality

This week at Third and State, we shared a podcast on the Governor's state budget proposal and the latest "pension primer" from the Keystone Research Center. We also blogged about the February jobs report, income inequality, a court ruling with implications for state health care funding, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about General Fund revenue collections missing estimate in February. Sharon Ward shared a podcast from her sit down with Triad Strategies where she discussed the governor's state budget proposal and the opportunity to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania.
  • On jobs and the economy, Chris Lilienthal rounded up the insights of leading national economists on the U.S. jobs report for February. Nonfarm payrolls in February increased by 236,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared the Keystone Research Center's latest "pension primer," which focused on how a 2010 law significantly reduced state pension costs going forward.
  • Mark Price shared his op-ed on how we can break the back of rising income inequality in the U.S., published this week in The Guardian.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a court ruling finding that the diversion of tobacco settlement funds away from health care violated the state constitution.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Check out the first three installments in the Keystone Research Center's new series of state pension primers intended to help demystify the often complex details at the heart of the pension debate.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's latest State Revenue Tracker.
  • 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!

Portion of Tobacco Funds Must Support Health Care for Poor, Court Rules

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A Commonwealth Court judge has ruled that the diversion of tobacco settlement funds away from health care for low-income Pennsylvanians violated the state Constitution. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more this morning:

A state judge has ordered the Corbett administration to reinstate funding for programs that provided health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians.

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