Higher Education

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 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.

Nation's Top Poor Students Are Not in Nation's Top Schools

There are significant disparities between high-achieving students from low-income families and high-achieving students from high-income families, according to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Statistics. Top high school students from poor areas are less likely to apply to America's top colleges and universities, even though they have the academic background to excel at a top tier institution. 

Third and State This Week: Minimum Wage, No Go on Lottery Privatization, State Revenue Update and a Look Ahead

This week at Third and State, we blogged about structuring the minimum wage to ensure low-wage workers are sharing in the growing economic pie, why lottery privatization was bad policy (as well as being illegal), a check in on the President's State of the Union, a look at state revenue collections in January, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that a minimum wage that keeps pace with productivity growth would allow workers at all income levels to share in the expanding economic pie.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Attorney General's rejection of a contract to privatize the lottery is good news for Pennsylvania and the future of senior services funded by the lottery.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood provided an update on state revenue collections, which came in slightly below estimate in January but remain ahead of targets for the fiscal year.
  • Finally, Mark Price offered his take on President Obama's State of the Union address, notably the President's plan to increase investments in infrastructure and universal pre-kindergarten education, and his proposals to reduce inequality.

ON FACEBOOK:

  • Check out photos from the kick off of the "Cover the Commonwealth" Campaign. More than 150 advocates came to Harrisburg to urge Governor Corbett and lawmakers to take advantage of a federal opportunity to draw down $43 billion in funds to strengthen the state's health care economy and expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.
  • Pittsburgh City Paper has some interesting infographics on the Governor's budget proposal, using analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
  • Like us on Facebook: Keystone Research CenterPennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

A LOOK AHEAD:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget Summit is less than a week away. Register today for the Summit on February 21 in Harrisburg. It offers an in-depth look at Governor Corbett's budget, the latest on the federal budget, and what it all means for families and communities across the commonwealth.

Third and State This Week: The Governor's Budget Proposal and More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Governor's proposed 2013-14 budget, which does little to undo the damage done by the deep cuts to education and health care enacted during his first two years in office. Plus a look at lost Postal Service jobs in Pennsylvania, as news comes that Saturday mail delivery will be ending.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's statement on the Governor's proposed budget, her pre-budget op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer outlining what the budget should look like, and her post-budget op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette analyzing the Governor's proposal.
  • On education, Kate Atkins posted infographics showing the proposed budget does little to reverse cuts to public schools and higher education.
  • And on jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about a 21% decline in Postal Service employment in Pennsylvania since 2007, as news comes that Saturday mail delivery is coming to an end.
IN OTHER NEWS:
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's detailed analysis of the Governor's 2013-14 budget proposal.

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

Governor's Budget Falls Short on Education, Health Care

I have an op-ed in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette making the point that Governor Corbett's proposed 2013-14 budget falls short on a number of levels and that Pennsylvania needs a budget that returns to tried-and-true investments in education and public infrastructure, the kind that can build a foundation for Pennsylvania's long-term economic competitiveness.

Governor's Budget Does Little to Undo Damage of Last Two Years

In case you missed the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's media statement on Governor Corbett's 2013-14 budget proposal this week, I pass it on to you below. It provides a nice overview of the various components of the Governor's budget. If you want more specifics, read our detailed 13-page budget analysis here.

Third and State This Week: Americans Living on $2 a Day, Mayors Talk Federal Deficit and Youth Unemployment

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the increasing number of children and families living in extreme poverty, the latest on the state revenue picture, Pennsylvania mayors on a federal deficit deal and the long-term effects of youth unemployment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On poverty, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a report on the increasing number of children and families living in extreme poverty, defined as surviving on $2 or less per day.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a message from the mayors of Philadelphia, Allentown, York, and Reading to members of Congress as they craft a deficit reduction plan.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote about November state revenue collections and the threat new business tax cuts pose to the state's ability to invest in the fundamentals that ensure long-term growth.
  • And on jobs and unemployment, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a study showing the long-lasting damage a recession can have on young people unable to find their first job.

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

Morning Must Reads: One Bidder? What Could Go Wrong?

The Keystone Research Center does not oppose the use of private contractors to provide services to federal, state and local governments as a matter of philosophy.

On pragmatic grounds, we DO support good governance, including carefully assessing the costs and benefits of privatization. Too often privatization is a goal in and of itself and good governance — careful weighing of pros and cons — isn't even in the vocabulary of privatization advocates.

Study Finds College-educated Women Face Income Inequality Early in Careers

The American Association of University Women is out with a study finding that college-educated women are earning only 82% of what men are paid a year after graduation. The report controlled for various factors that affect earnings, such as occupations, majors and hours worked, to ensure the study made a true apples-to-apples comparison.

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