Human Services

Daily Must Reads: Budget Cuts HIt General Assistance, County Human Services, Early Childhood Education

With the race to finish the state budget under way in Harrisburg, newspapers are taking a look at the fallout of budget cuts and how they will hurt citizens across Pennsylvania. WHYY's Newsworks reports that the state is getting ready to cut off General Assistance benefits effective next month, but no one is telling the people who will be directly impacted.

Third and State This Week: State Budget Framework, Public-Sector Job Losses and Liquor Privatization Stalls

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the $27.65 billion budget framework announced by the governor and legislative leaders, the stalled debate over liquor privatization in Pennsylvania, how public-sector job losses have hurt the broader economy, teacher layoffs in Reading, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal highlighted news reports on the $27.65 billion budget framework announced by Governor Tom Corbett and legislative leaders and followed up with a roundup of news reports as budget details began to emerge.
  • Intern Alan Bowie stepped up this week to write Morning Must Reads:
    • On Monday, he highlighted news stories on teacher layoffs in Reading and reining in the sales tax vendor discount.
    • On Tuesday, he summed up a news report on Washington State's experience with liquor privatization and new estimates putting Pennsylvania's June revenue surplus at $100 million.
    • And on Wednesday, he had a roundup that included a look at how public-sector layoffs are hurting the broader economy and news that debate on a liquor privatization bill stalled in the House and will be pushed to the fall.

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

Morning Must Reads: Piecing Together the Budget Framework

Some details emerged Thursday about the state budget framework unveiled midweek by Governor Tom Corbett and legislative leaders, but questions still remain. More details may be available later today when budget spreadsheets are released.

Funding for county human services is one area that appears to be in flux, as some House Republicans continue to voice concerns about a plan to block grant and cut that funding. 

Daily Must Reads: Layoffs in the Public Sector, Jobs at the Cracker Plant and Liquor Privatization Pushed to Fall

The New York Times this morning takes a look at layoffs in the public sector across the country and what they mean for education, law enforcement, and overall unemployment. The story shines a light on recent public-sector layoffs here in Pennsylvania, with a little context provided by our own Mark Price.

Third and State This Week: PA Budget, Liquor Privatization, Very Hot Working Conditions and CEO Pay

This week at Third and State, we blogged about where the state budget is at, protesters pressuring Amazon to install air conditioning in warehouses, how much CEOs earned in 2011 and more. Plus, we responded to attacks on a recent Keystone Research Center report on alcohol privatization and alcohol-related traffic deaths.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg responded to an attack from a spokesman with the Commonwealth Foundation on a recent Keystone Research Center report showing that states like Pennsylvania which tightly control alcohol distribution have fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths as a result.
  • On the workplace, Michael Wood highlighted a news report on how protesters pressured Amazon into installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward shared her memo to reporters and editors providing an overview of where things are at with the budget.
  • On education and the economy, Mark Price wrote about recent news reports on student loan debt for college dropouts and new figures showing that the typical CEO made $4,615 an hour in 2011.
  • And on health care, Chris Lilienthal noted a news report on efforts by conservative groups to persuade states to not create state-level health insurance exchanges.

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

Final Push for State Budget Starts Next Week

Next week begins the final push in Harrisburg for a state budget. I put out a memo today to editors and reporters providing an overview of where things are at with the budget. Here's the overview:

Morning Must Reads: Training and Education? Let Them Go To The Pittsburgh Opera

When workers lose their jobs in a recession, they have time that could be spent in training programs targeted to the needs of employers. Of course, there is a hitch: during a recession, employers are not hiring, so at the very time there are lots of people available to train, employers don't need new workers. As the economy improves (like it is now), it opens the door to training tied to the needs of businesses that are hiring. 

Third and State This Week: PA Senate Approves Budget, Payday Lending Advances & a Harrisburg Rally

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Pennsylvania Senate's passage of a budget, movement on a bill to legalize predatory payday lending in the state, a big rally at the state Capitol, analysis of the April jobs report, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about the Senate's passage of a state budget bill this week that improves upon the Governor's budget but still makes deep cuts to education and health services. Earlier in the week, she had a blog post on the Senate budget when details first emerged. Chris Lilienthal highlighted a Monday rally at the Capitol that brought 700 Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg to call on lawmakers and the Governor to save the General Assistance program and restore cuts proposed to county services for children, the homeless and people with disabilities. Plus, Mark Price blogged about concerns that the state will not spend all the tax revenue it collects, creating a further drag on the economy.
  • On banking, Mark Price blogged about committee approval of a state House bill that would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for the state's consumers and economy.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared analysis of April's U.S. jobs report.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a roundup of news on the economic impact of state and federal budget cuts, the prospect of higher interest rates on student loans and the geography of manufacturing. 

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

PA Senate Approves Budget, But Deep Cuts Remain

The Pennsylvania Senate approved a $27.6 billion budget plan today by a vote of 39-8. The plan improves upon the budget proposed by Governor Tom Corbett, but deep cuts to education and health services remain.

On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a rare display of bipartisanship, adopted two Democratic amendments and unanimously approved the spending plan.

Let the Games Begin: PA Senate Announces Details of Budget Proposal

Action on the state budget began in earnest Monday with state Senator Jake Corman, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, releasing important details on the Senate budget plan that will be advanced this week.

The proposal would increase Governor Tom Corbett's budget proposal by $500 million, with total spending rising from $27.15 billion to $27.65 billion for 2012-13. The Senate plan rejects $191 million in fund transfers and new revenue and proposes new spending cuts of $165 million. Those spending reductions were not yet detailed.

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