Recession and Recovery

Third and State Recap: Disappointing Job Growth, Ryan Budget's Impact on PA, Revenue Update, Frack Attack & More

After taking a break last week, Third and State is back with a blog recap for the past two weeks. We blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report and Pennsylvania revenue update, the billions Pennsylvania could lose under Congressman Paul Ryan's budget, Ed Rendell making the case for gas drilling in New York, how "Tax Freedom Day" overstates the taxes most Americans pay, and much more.


  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that U.S. job growth continued to disappoint in March.
  • On federal tax and budget issues, Sharon Ward blogged about how Paul Ryan's budget cuts critical federal funding for Pennsylvania's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services, while providing big new tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals. We also wrote about tax credits for working families that are in jeopardy in federal deficit reduction talks. Finally, Chris Lilienthal blogged that the Tax Foundation's "Tax Freedom Day" presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward blogged about how former Governor Ed Rendell got into some hot water last week with an op-ed in the New York Daily News touting the economic benefits of hydrofracking. Mark Price shared new data on natural gas-related employment in Pennsylvania.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote that state revenue collections fell short of projections in four of the last five months, which could put 2013-14 spending in jeopardy.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared a recent op-ed she wrote explaining why Pennsylvania should take a federal opportunity to expand health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Chris Lilienthal explained how you can let your lawmakers know that expanding health coverage is the right choice for Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a recent report finding that the nation's poor students are not attending the nation's top colleges and universities.


  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is launching a new policy webinar series next week, starting with one Tuesday that will debunk the tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
  • Read PBPC's full analysis of Pennsylvania's March revenue report.
  • Learn more about the threat facing federal tax credits for working families — including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
  • 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.

U.S. Job Growth Continues to Disappoint in March

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 88,000 in March while the unemployment rate stood at 7.6%, little changed from the month before, according to a report this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bill McBride at Calculated Risk wrote Thursday that the consensus forecast was for an increase in nonfarm payrolls of 193,000 and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.7%.

Third and State This Week: Budget Pie Day, Cost of Tax Cuts and an Update on State Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the impact of corporate tax cuts on state investments in education and health care, why state lawmakers got half a pie from advocates this week, and the takeaway from Pennsylvania's latest jobs report. Plus we shared a podcast with Sharon Ward on education policy in Pennsylvania.


  • On state taxes and the budget, Michael Wood blogged about a new Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) policy brief showing that the skyrocketing cost of corporate tax cuts are competing with state funding for schools, the state’s colleges and universities, early childhood education, and human services. 
  • With business tax cuts taking a larger share of the budget pie these days, Chris Lilienthal wrote about how advocates with the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition delivered half a pie to every state legislator this week to send a message that Pennsylvania needs real tax reform. We also shared a 3-minute video with highlights from the Pie Day press conference.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price analyzed the January jobs report for Pennsylvania.
  • And on education, Sharon Ward talked with Triad Strategies about PBPC's new Education Facts Page, which presents data and analysis on public, charter and private education in the commonwealth.


  • Read PBPC's latest policy brief titled $3 Billion Bill for Corporate Tax Cuts in 2012-13: Reduced Revenue Does Little for Jobs, Undermines Schools and Human Services.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Check out PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page, with more information on the federal opportunity to expand state coverage and how you can take action.
  • And view PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

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

A Mixed Bag for Pennsylvania's January Jobs Report

A few minutes before 5 p.m. on Friday, the Corbett administration released new data on the state's employment situation in January. The picture that emerged from the data was mixed.

On the one hand, the unemployment rate climbed by three-tenths of a percentage point to 8.2%, while the number of unemployed climbed by 18,000. On the other hand, nonfarm payrolls had a better month than typical with payrolls over the month climbing by 5,200 jobs. 

Third and State This Week: Minimum Wage, No Go on Lottery Privatization, State Revenue Update and a Look Ahead

This week at Third and State, we blogged about structuring the minimum wage to ensure low-wage workers are sharing in the growing economic pie, why lottery privatization was bad policy (as well as being illegal), a check in on the President's State of the Union, a look at state revenue collections in January, and more.


  • On jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that a minimum wage that keeps pace with productivity growth would allow workers at all income levels to share in the expanding economic pie.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Attorney General's rejection of a contract to privatize the lottery is good news for Pennsylvania and the future of senior services funded by the lottery.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood provided an update on state revenue collections, which came in slightly below estimate in January but remain ahead of targets for the fiscal year.
  • Finally, Mark Price offered his take on President Obama's State of the Union address, notably the President's plan to increase investments in infrastructure and universal pre-kindergarten education, and his proposals to reduce inequality.


  • Check out photos from the kick off of the "Cover the Commonwealth" Campaign. More than 150 advocates came to Harrisburg to urge Governor Corbett and lawmakers to take advantage of a federal opportunity to draw down $43 billion in funds to strengthen the state's health care economy and expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.
  • Pittsburgh City Paper has some interesting infographics on the Governor's budget proposal, using analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
  • Like us on Facebook: Keystone Research CenterPennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.


  • The Pennsylvania Budget Summit is less than a week away. Register today for the Summit on February 21 in Harrisburg. It offers an in-depth look at Governor Corbett's budget, the latest on the federal budget, and what it all means for families and communities across the commonwealth.

With the President Promising to Reduce Inequality, the Devil Will Be in the Details

We were hoping to hear President Obama in his State of the Union address underline his commitment to taking on our greatest short- and long-term challenges: persistent high unemployment and rapidly growing inequality.

Third and State This Week: PA Among Top 10 Most Regressive Tax States, Liquor Privatization and Latest Jobs Report

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new study finding Pennsylvania is among the "Terrible 10" most regressive tax states in the nation, the lost revenues and increased social costs that would come with privatization of the state liquor stores, what the latest national jobs report means, and much more.


  • On state and local taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finding that middle- and low-income working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in taxes than the wealthiest earners. Chris had a follow up post that looked at how Pennsylvania taxes compared to neighboring New Jersey and West Virginia. We also blogged about what a progressive tax system should look like.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg responded to Governor Tom Corbett's plan to privatize liquor stores by highlighting the likely impacts: an increase in excessive alcohol consumption and its related negative impacts as well as the loss of some of the nearly half a billion dollars in revenues generated by the state system.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that in light of January's national jobs report, the recovery remains on track, but the pace of job growth is perilously slow.
  • And on education and the state budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a news report on Budget Secretary Charles Zogby's address to the Pennsylvania Press Club, and the "false choice" he presented between education funding in the next budget and changes to state pensions.

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

January Jobs Report: Good But Not Good Enough

This morning the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 7.9% in January as nonfarm payrolls increased by 157,000 jobs. January's jobs figure was somewhat below the average gain in the previous three months (201,000).

On the whole, the recovery remains on track, but the pace of job growth remains perilously slow.

Third and State This Week: Listen to Main Street, Tax Cuts Drive State Funding Gap and More on Federal Fiscal Debate

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how corporate tax cuts are contributing to a gap between state expenditures and revenues, an effort to get real small business voices heard in the federal fiscal debate, corporate tax subsidies run amok in the states, a fiscal cliff primer from Springfield's favorite CEO, C. Montgomery Burns, and more.


  • In response to the state's midyear budget briefing, Sharon Ward shared an infographic showing how unaffordable state business tax cuts are driving a gap between expenditures and revenues in the next budget.
  • On tax subsidies, Mark Price blogged about a New York Times report detailing the tax breaks and credits provided by state and local governments to businesses.
  • On federal taxes, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Main Street Alliance's efforts to get real small business voices heard in the federal fiscal debate. Mark Price wrote about the different priorities of Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators in addressing federal deficit reduction.
  • On the state budget and other policies, Mark Price blogged about editorial page assessments of Governor Tom Corbett's administration midway through his first term.
  • Finally, we had a Friday Funny featuring Mr. Burns of The Simpsons explaining the fiscal cliff.

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

Morning Must Reads: Different Priorities For Different Senators

Proposals to avert the fiscal cliff shouldn't increase poverty or inequality or slow the economic recovery. Those simple common-sense principles appear to be gaining increasing visibility and support, which is the best news this morning.

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