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.


  • 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!

This Week at Third and State: Tax Break for Shell Cracker Plant, Payday Lending and Budget Myths

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Governor Tom Corbett's proposal to give Shell Oil Co. a $1.65 billion tax credit over 25 years for building an ethane cracker plant in Pennsylvania. We also wrote about the passage of legislation in the state House to legalize predatory payday lending, the myths behind Governor Corbett's budget myths, the national job numbers for May, and more. 


  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward blogged about the five "myths" the Corbett administration claims are circulating about the governor's proposed budget — and the myths behind the myths.
  • On tax policy, Mark Price highlighted a Philadelphia Daily News report on Governor Corbett's proposal to give Shell a $1.6 billion tax credit for locating an ethane cracker plant in the state. Chris Lilienthal wrote about a Capitolwire report asking whether Shell should get such a large tax break for jobs that other companies may bring to Pennsylvania.
  • On consumer protection, Mark Price was on top of developments with the payday lending bill, which passed the House on Wednesday. He had updates here and here and blogged about the bill's final passage here.
  • On job and the economy, Mark Price made sense of the national jobs numbers for May. He also took a look at the impact of economic austerity on Pennsylvania schools.

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

House Passes Predatory Pay Day Lending Bill

Counting two late votes, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 103 to 91 in favor of House Bill 2191, a measure that raises the cap on the annual interest rate for payday loans to 369%. There was bipartisan opposition to the bill with 19 Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the measure. Support for the measure was also bipartisan with 17 Democrats joining Republicans voting in favor.

Possible Vote To Permit Predatory Payday Lending Looms Again Today

According to Kerry Smith of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, House Bill 2191 did not get a vote in the Pennsylvania House as expected Tuesday, but it is once again on the calendar for possible consideration today. Please ask your friends and family to reach out to their representative to keep the pressure on to not pass this bill.

House to Vote on 300% Interest Rate Payday Loans Today

UPDATE: House Bill 2191 was not voted upon as expected on Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania House will vote today on one of the most surprisingly controversial bills of the session, a plan to legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania. House Bill 2191, sponsored by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester County), will allow payday loans to carry rates of more than 300% annually – more than 12 times the current legal limit.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Tests Are For Poor People Not Shell Oil

Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News reviews a proposal from Governor Tom Corbett to give Shell Oil even more money for doing something they are already planning to do anyway.

Morning Must Reads: Austerity Hurts and the Sands in Bethlehem Has A Union But No Contract!

On Friday, we got a disappointing jobs report for May in which unemployment ticked up slightly and non-farm payroll growth came in below 100,000 jobs. The volatility of the numbers may reflect unseasonably warm winter weather rather than a fundamental slowdown in the economy. That said, the economy continues to grow at a pace too slow to bring down the unemployment rate quickly.

The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Maria Panaritis has a biting commentary today on the impact of economic austerity on Pennsylvania schools.

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: Job Creators Love the Prevailing Wage and Predatory Payday Lenders Are Lousy Job Creators

Is the prevailing wage just a battle between business and labor? James Gaffney explains why it isn't in the Harrisburg Patriot-News this morning.

Morning Must Reads: Payday Loans Are Bad For Consumer and School Districts Report Financial Distress

In case you missed it, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a strong editorial Monday against legalizing predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.

Syndicate content