Recession and Recovery

Third and State This Week: Better Budget Choices, Income Inequality After the Recession & the Minimum Wage

This week at Third and State, we blogged about March state revenues and better budget choices, income inequality in the wake of the recession, efforts to raise the minimum wage, and much more. Plus an early Tax Day Friday Funny.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote about some hopeful news in the March revenue collections, and Chris Lilienthal shared an op-ed by the co-chairs of Better Choices for Pennsylvania calling on lawmakers to close loopholes and delay unaffordable tax cuts before making more cuts that hurt children and families.
  • On income inequality, intern Jheanelle Chambers blogged about an eye-popping chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing that in 2009, despite the weak economy, the top 1% of households captured $1.32 trillion in gross income while the bottom 50% earned $1.06 trillion.
  • In a Morning Must Read on jobs and wages, Mark Price blogged that it is time to get serious about raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania and the nation.
  • In other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news reports on the challenges facing young workers in this economy; macho governors; and why women tend to be hurt more than men by public-sector job cuts.
  • And the Friday Funny featured a video from Citizens for Tax Justice on Mitch, a shoe store manager who wants to pay no taxes like GE.

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

Lunch Time Must Reads: Gender, Employment and the Public Sector

Catherine Rampell at The New York Times explores recent claims made in the Presidential campaign about job loss by gender.

A Recovery for the 1%

By Jheanelle Chambers, Intern

Even in a Down Year, Top 1% Have More Total Income Than Bottom 50 Percent CombinedWhile many middle-class Americans are still struggling in a down economy, the 1% is doing quite well.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has an eye-popping chart (right) showing that in 2009, despite the weak economy, the top 1% of households captured $1.32 trillion in gross income while the bottom 50% earned $1.06 trillion.

Morning Must Reads: Cutting Support for Pre-K and Higher Ed & Trouble in Altoona

Topping the headlines this morning: state budget cuts mean fewer providers of high-quality pre-kindergarten in York County.

The YWCA York plans to close two of its early learning centers located in East Manchester and York townships for financial reasons, according to Deb Stock, CEO...

Morning Must Reads: Young Workers in the Great Recession, Gov. Targets Disabled and Pension Returns

The Philadelphia Inquirer has begun a series of reports on the impact of the Great Recession on young workers.  Here is a description of the series followed by a link to the first story in the series. Worth a read.

Morning Must Reads: Governing Little or Just Governing Badly?

On Tuesday, The Nation ran a story profiling the changes in economic and social policy in the states following the 2010 election. (Wonky readers may also enjoy Konczal and Covert's short briefing paper on the same subject.)

This Week at Third and State: School Bus Contracting, Voter ID and the Misguided Food Stamps Asset Test

This week, we blogged about a new report on the higher costs of contracting out school bus transportation to private companies, the expensive voter ID bill approved this week, an op-ed from the CEO of Weis Markets on the misguided asset test being proposed for food assistance, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new Keystone Research Center report finding that private school bus transportation services in Pennsylvania cost more than when districts provide their own transportation, underscoring that privatization is not always the best option.
  • On voter ID, Chris Lilienthal wrote about this costly plan earlier in the week and later included a link to a news story after its final passage on Wednesday.
  • On food assistance, Chris Lilienthal highlighted an op-ed by Weis Markets CEO David J. Hepfinger explaining what a bad idea it is to impose an assets test on people who are seeking food assistance.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared the podcast of her appearance on WITF's Radio Smart Talk, in which she discussed the future of health and human services in Pennsylvania.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted a news report on a new study that predicts fiscal distress in Pennsylvania school districts thanks to state budget cuts, articles comparing the gas booms in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, and a piece examining whether the settlement between states and mortgage lenders over questionable document processing is accelerating foreclosure activity.

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

More Harm than Good

David J. Hepfinger, the CEO of Sunbury-based Weis Markets, has a great op-ed in today's Harrisburg Patriot-News explaining what a bad idea it is to impose an assets test on people who are seeking food assistance:

We can clearly see how the poor economy impacts our customers at Weis Markets. Today, they are making fewer shopping trips, buying in smaller sizes, switching from beef to poultry and, sadly, purchasing fewer diapers and more ointment despite an unchanged birth rate.

Third and State This Week: Math Teachers Getting Pink Slips, Take the Money and Run, and Revenue Update

This week, we blogged about math teachers getting pink slips, a "take the money and run" philosophy on business subsidies, state revenues in February, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On education, Mark Price explained why laying off math teachers, as some districts are doing to address funding shortfalls, is very bad decision that risks harming our long-term economic growth. Michael Wood highlighted a New York Times article on the impact of state cuts to public higher education across the country.
  • On economic development, Mark Price was humming the Steve Miller Band's "Take the Money and Run" when he heard about the closing of a battery company's Lehigh Valley operations, after the facility opened in 2008 with $4 million in business subsidies from the state.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote that February's General Fund revenue collections took a turn for the better in Pennsylvania.
  • And in other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price blogged about top incomes and adultBasic, the economic anxieties of the 1% versus the 99%, and water privatization in Harrisburg.

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

Morning Must Reads: The Governor's Math Requires Fewer Math Teachers

PA Job Growth Slowed in 2011Pennsylvania’s 2011-12 General Fund budget made deep cuts to education and health care while leaving unspent $620 million from a revenue surplus last year and other unused funds.

We have estimated the failure to spend that revenue will by itself translate into the loss of 17,714 jobs (including private jobs lost due to the ripple effects of public job cuts) over the course of the 2011-12 fiscal year.

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