Poverty

Third and State This Week: Nutrition Assistance Cuts, Fast Food Worker Strikes, Modest State Revenue Growth & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a pending cut and other threats to federal nutrition assistance, what the one-day strikes by fast food workers tell us about the future of the middle class, a post-recession pay cut for the nation's low-wage workers, state revenue growth in the year ahead, and the role of public safety net programs in keeping people out of poverty.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On food insecurity, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a report on the significant impact that a pending cut in nutrition assistance will have on low-income families across Pennsylvania and the nation. He also shared a New York Times report on a new study finding that additional cuts proposed by the U.S. House would cost more than 5 million Americans needed food assistance.
  • On unions and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the fast food workers engaging in one-day strikes across the country may be on the verge of cracking the code to the next U.S. middle class.
  • On income inequality, intern Ellis Wazeter blogged about a recent study showing that low-wage American workers have taken a post-recession hit to their paychecks.
  • On state taxes, Michael Wood shared a chart showing that General Fund revenue collections are projected to grow very little in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  • And on poverty, Chris Lilienthal passed on a blog post by Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlighting just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Nearly 1.8 Million in PA Will See Food Assistance Cut

SNAP helps nearly 1 in 3 U.S. children get enough to eat. All of them will see their benefits cut in November.Nutrition assistance is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger and a powerful tool to help keep families out of poverty. Come November, this critical federal assistance will be cut, making it that much more difficult for 1.8 million Pennsylvanians to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

Morning Must Read: House Plan Would Cost 5 Million Americans Needed Food Assistance

Legislation before the U.S. House would eliminate about 5.1 million people from a federal program that provides nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families, according to a new report by the Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The House-proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, would undermine the ability of low-income households to feed their families and increase poverty, the researchers found.

Lifitng Millions of Americans Out of Poverty

Check out the following Off the Charts blog post from Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At a time when the U.S. House is advocating deep cuts to food assistance and other programs that help struggling families stay afloat, it is important to recognize just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.

Third and State This Week: Upward Mobility, Pittsburgh and Detroit, Revenue Wrap, and Diversion Politics

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new study showing the American Dream of upward mobility is more alive in Pennsylvania than in many parts of the country. We also wrote about 2012-13 revenue collections and a well-oiled effort to distract middle-class families from the real cause of their economic struggle. Plus, a guest post on how Pittsburgh avoided Detroit's fate.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On wages and mobility, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new study by Harvard and Berkeley economists showing that Pennsylvania enjoys substantially more upward mobility than many other parts of the United States.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood explained some of the key takeaways from General Fund revenue collections in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
  • On nutrition assistance, Stephen Herzenberg responded to the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending. Steve wrote that the real kitchen table issue facing most Americans is rising income inequality.
  • And on the Marcellus Shale and the economy, guest blogger Tim Stuhldreher shared his thoughts on why Pittsburgh has fared much better than Detroit after taking huge economic hits in the 1980s. Hint: it is not all about shale drilling.

IN OTHER NEWS

Diversion Politics and Factual Errors with 'Americans for a Tiny Sliver of Rich People'

Jennifer Stefano, the Pennsylvania director of Americans for Prosperity, published an op-ed in the Patriot-News Friday — the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending.

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.

By Any Name, Predatory Payday Lending Is Still a Debt Trap

Stop Payday Loans in Pa.It’s been awhile since I blogged about payday lending, so let’s recap a little bit. 

Payday loans are made in small amounts but come at an extremely high cost, typically carrying annual interest rates of 300% or higher. They are called payday loans because they generally must be paid back in full, with all interest and fees, on the borrower’s next payday. Believe it or not, payday borrowers are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as applicants whose request for a payday loan was denied by the lender.  

Pennsylvania does not currently have thousands of payday loan storefronts as you will find in states like Florida and Utah because our state law puts a low cap on the interest and fees that payday lenders can charge. Loyal readers will remember that in the last legislative session Rep. Chris Ross of Chester County introduced — and the House passed — legislation to open the door to payday lending in Pennsylvania.  The bill died in the Senate.

Ever since, payday lenders have been lobbying state Senators to reintroduce the bill. Their efforts paid off late Friday afternoon when Senator Pat Browne introduced Senate Bill 975 and hastily scheduled a vote on the bill in the Banking and Insurance Committee today. 

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.

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.
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