Human Services

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.

Everything You Need to Know about 2013-14 Budget

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has released a full detailed analysis of the 2013-14 state budget plan spending $28.376 billion, roughly $645 million (or 2.3%) more than in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the budget into law late in the evening of June 30, 2013. Overall, the plan is $64 million less than the Governor proposed in February, reflecting nearly $113 million in reduced spending for public school pensions and school employees’ Social Security payments along with a shift of $90 million in General Fund spending off budget to other funds.

2012-13 General Fund Summary
(in $ Millions)
  2012-13 2013-14 Gov. 2013-14 Final Change f/ 2012-13 % Change
General Fund $27,731 $28,440 $28,376 +$645 2.3%

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.

Today's the Day

Today's the day. It's the start of our statewide call to action as lawmakers near the final stages of the state budget process. Hundreds of Pennsylvanians will call their state House Representative today or Tuesday to urge them to restore funding for schools and human services instead of making new tax cuts for businesses.

What You Need to Know About House Budget Plan

Pennsylvania House Republican leaders today introduced a 2013-14 budget that is $100 million less than what Governor Tom Corbett proposed in February. Overall, the $28.3 billion plan cuts $230 million in spending proposed by the Governor, shifting nearly $130 million of the savings to other budget priorities.

Third and State This Week: PA Jobs Update, House Budget Bill Coming, Expanding Medicaid and More

This week at Third and State, we updated you on the latest Pennsylvania jobs numbers, asked whether a House budget bill to be introduced on May 28 will include new cuts, explained how a loophole bill does not get the job done, highlighted an editorial raising concerns about the Governor's pension proposal, and shared resources from a webinar on expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price has an update on the Pennsylvania jobs report released Friday.
  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged that as Pennsylvania House leaders plan to introduce a 2013-14 budget bill, some in Harrisburg are looking at a delay in the phaseout of the capital stock and franchise tax to help close a budget gap. Michael Wood blogged that a recently-passed House bill to close corporate tax loopholes would fall far short of its goal and aggravate the state’s financial problems.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Chris Lilienthal blogged about an Associated Press story highlighting just how much Pennsylvania is giving up over time by enacting a very low Marcellus Shale impact fee.
  • On public pensions, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial raising concerns about Governor Corbett's pension plan.
  • Finally, we shared a video of a webinar hosted by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on making the Medicaid expansion a reality in Pennsylvania.

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.

Webinar: Making Medicaid Expansion a Reality in PA

Eight and counting, that’s the number of Republican governors who have determined that opting into the expansion of Medicaid health coverage under the Affordable Care Act is good for their state’s citizens and economy.

In a webinar this week hosted by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, health care experts looked at the nuts and bolts of the Medicaid expansion and what is being done to make it happen in Pennsylvania. You can watch the webinar below.

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.

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