Human Services

Third and State Recap: PA Budget, Human Cost of Ending General Assistance & Wall Street Execs on Honesty

Happy Friday the 13th! Over the past two weeks, we been busy blogging about the enacted state budget, the revenue outlook at the start of the new fiscal year, the human cost of eliminating General Assistance, recent news on the Marcellus Shale front and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, intern Alan Bowie had this post and intern Jamar Thrasher had this post summing up the post-budget headlines. Michael Wood had an analysis of better-than-expected revenue collections in June, allowing the state to start the new fiscal year with a $400 million fund balance. And Mark Price blogged about the problems with budget austerity.
  • On jobs, Mark Price blogged about a New York Times editorial and research by the Economic Policy Institute on just how much state and local budget cuts have hurt job growth nationally.
  • On poverty and public welfare, Kate Atkins wrote about the human cost of eliminating General Assistance, which will come to an end on August 1 under the new budget.
  • On the financial sector, Mark Price blogged about a recent poll finding one in four Wall Street executives view wrongdoing as a key to success.
  • On the economy, Alan Bowie wrote about an effort to increase the federal minimum wage and the long-term impact of the housing crisis on African Americans.
  • And, on the Marcellus Shale, Jamar Thrasher blogged about legislation that enacted a moratorium on gas drilling in Bucks County and a new report showing how major oil companies use tax loopholes to avoid paying federal taxes. 

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

Morning Must Reads: Elected Officials Are Supposed To Do No Harm

The New York Times has a good editorial this morning based on analysis by Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute on just how much state and local budget cuts have hurt job growth. Bottom line, the editorial says, Congress could lower the unemployment rate substantially by providing more federal aid to states.

The Human Cost of Eliminating General Assistance

Since the Great Depression, Pennsylvania has had a General Assistance (GA) program — a small cash benefit that serves as a bridge to self-sufficiency for the temporarily disabled and for victims of domestic violence and addicts seeking help to turn their lives around.

Since the Great Depression. Until this past weekend.

This year’s budget ended Pennsylvania’s modest benefit for 68,000 people, effective August 1. At $205 per month, nobody was getting rich from the program. Here is a sample of who is using General Assistance and why:

Midday Must Reads: The Post-Budget Edition

Just days after Governor Tom Corbett signed the Pennsylvania state budget a few minutes before midnight, the effects are transparent — even if the process was not. To start things off today, the Harrisburg Patriot-News takes a look at the newly passed state budget.

Go to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Website for More Information on the Enacted Pennsylvania Budget

Click here for more details. More content will be added over the next couple of days as we sift through the details.

Third and State This Week: PA Budget, Human Services Block Grant and the Affordable Care Act Is Here to Stay

This week at Third and State, we blogged about details of the 2012-13 state budget, resistance to creating a human services block grant, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward highlighted details of the 2012-13 budget, which sets spending below the budgeted 2008-09 levels, despite four years of recession-driven increases in demand for services. Chris Lilienthal had an initial overview of the budget earlier in the week. Chris also had a blog post about a provision in the draft Fiscal Code bill that would require nonprofit service providers to report on executive salaries and other administrative expenses. And he had a short post linking to an overview of education policy changes that are moving along with the budget.
  • On human services, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Representative Gene DiGirolamo's plan to establish a pilot program for the human services block grant. Sharon Ward followed up with a post looking at efforts by the Corbett administration to turn the pilot program into a Human Services Block Grant Lite.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Supreme Court's decision upholding the Affordable Care Act and how important it is for state officials to move forward with implementing it in a consumer friendly way. Intern Alan Bowie had a Morning Must Reads post highlighting news coverage of the decision.
  • In other Morning Must Reads, Alan Bowie blogged about news reports on local unemployment rates and on budget cuts hitting General Assistance, county human services and early childhood education. Intern Jamar Thrasher had a Morning Must Read on hope that kindergarten may be saved from budget cuts in Harrisburg.

Note: We will have more blog posts next week, but we will not have a weekly roundup on Friday, July 6 because of the Fourth of July holiday. We will resume the weekly roundup blog post on Friday, July 13. In the meantime, keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Corbett Administration Wants Human Services Block Grant Lite

There is still no agreement on the Human Services Block Grant, and the details of a proposed pilot program continue to stall progress on the budget. 

An Added Layer of Bureaucracy

As nonprofit providers of human services work to do more with less after years of state cutbacks, lawmakers are planning to give them one more thing to do.

A Closer Look at the State Budget

Details of the 2012-13 state budget agreement have emerged with the release of spreadsheets Tuesday, and some details of the code language that will accompany the budget.

Lawmaker Proposes Pilot Program for County Block Grant

With less than a week to go until the state budget deadline, policymakers in Harrisburg are still at odds over how to fund county services for children, the homeless and people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.

Governor Tom Corbett is holding firm on his plan to cut funding for a number of county human service programs and roll it all into a new block grant, despite opposition among Republicans and Democrats in the state House.

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