State Budget and Taxes

Some Key Points to Keep in Mind on Marcellus Impact Fee

State lawmakers may vote in the coming days on enacting a tax or fee on Marcellus Shale drilling, but as always the devil is in the details. Just how much will drillers be asked to pay and where will the revenue go?

Various proposals take varying approaches, but as we found in a recent Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center analysis, most of the leading plans being debated in Harrisburg give the lion’s share of local funding to only eight drilling counties, while doing nothing to address state cuts to education and local services. By contrast, the 10 counties that contribute 61% of current state taxes would receive 0.1% of the local drilling impact funds.

We shared that report with lawmakers today and asked them to take the following critical points into consideration as they continue to debate the contours of a drilling tax or fee in Pennsylvania.

Some Details Emerge on 2011-12 Pa. Budget Deal

Some details emerged Monday on the 2011-12 state budget deal recently reached by Pennsylvania's legislative leaders and Governor Tom Corbett.

Much like earlier proposals, this budget plan includes deep cuts to education, health care and other cost-effective local services, while leaving much of a $550 million revenue surplus untouched.

Third and State This Week: Insurance Exchanges, Marcellus Drilling Impact Fee and Unemployment Benefits

This week, we blogged about a state legislative hearing on structuring insurance exchanges, 11 things to hate about the state Senate drilling impact fee bill, the fine print on a compromise reached to continue federal extended unemployment benefits to 45,000 Pennsylvanians, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On health care, Intern Emma Lowenberg has a nice summary of a Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee informational meeting this week that featured a presentation on how Massachusetts structured its state health insurance exchange and what Pennsylvania can learn from it as it moves toward creating its own.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward blogs about the top 11 things to hate about the state Senate drilling impact fee bill.
  • On jobs and unemployment, Stephen Herzenberg takes a closer look at the compromise reached in the Pennsylvania Legislature last week that allowed 45,000 unemployed workers (and another 90,000 through the end of the year) to continue receiving extended federal unemployment benefits.
  • Finally, on poverty, Chris Lilienthal passes on an update from Community Legal Services in Philadelphia on a class action lawsuit that is proceeding on behalf of 359,000 low-income Pennsylvanians who are blind, disabled or elderly and saw a cut in early 2010 to a modest state benefit.

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

Third and State This Week: Unemployment Benefits, Drilling Fee Bill and the Latest Jobs Report

This week, we blogged about a drilling fee bill moving in the Pennsylvania Senate, a resolution to the legislative standoff over extended unemployment benefits, an update on the May jobs report and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood writes about changes to Senator Joseph Scarnati's drilling impact fee plan that makes an already weak bill a lot weaker.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins blogs about a budget rally last week that featured umbrellas on a sunny day and a message to lawmakers that fiscally and economically it is still raining in Pennsylvania.
  • On unemployment, Mark Price highlights the passage of state legislation that preserves extended federal unemployment benefits for 45,000 Pennsylvanians but comes at a cost for future unemployed workers.
  • Finally, on jobs and the economy, Mark writes that Pennsylvania's May jobs report provides some cause for concern.

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

Senate Drilling Fee Moves Forward, with Changes that Further Weaken Bill

Drilling RigPennsylvania State Senator Joe Scarnati's legislation to enact a Marcellus Shale gas drilling fee was amended and voted out of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee by unanimous votes Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the amendment offered by committee chair, state Senator Mary Jo White (R-Venango), makes an already weak bill a lot weaker.

Umbrellas on a Sunny Day

On a recent sunny lunch hour, several dozen advocates for children and working families opened umbrellas overhead as they gathered outside Philadelphia City Hall. Not because of anything in the weather forecast, but to send a message to lawmakers in Harrisburg that when it comes to the state's finances, it is still raining in Pennsylvania.

Third and State This Week: Preserving Tobacco Funds for Health Care, Fasting for PA's Vulnerable and the May Jobs Report

This week, we blogged about the latest job numbers, efforts to preserve tobacco settlement dollars for health care services, paid sick days legislation and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On health care, intern Emma Lowenberg blogs about an effort by consumer health advocates to urge the state Senate to preserve Pennsylvania's share of tobacco settlement funds for health care purposes.
  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal writes about the "Fast for PA's Vulnerable," an effort by Harrisburg faith leader Stephen Drachler to draw attention to the impact of budget decisions on Pennsylvania's most vulnerable by abstaining from solid foods.
  • On unemployment and the economy, Emma sums up the May jobs report by turning to the expert analysis of four leading economists.
  • And on workplace issues, Steve Herzenberg shares a recent op-ed he coauthored with economics and labor studies professor Lonnie Golden on the benefits of paid sick days in Philadelphia.

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

Fasting for Pennsylvania's Most Vulnerable

Fast for PA's VulnerableAs the state budget debate enters its final weeks, Harrisburg faith leader Stephen Drachler is abstaining from solid foods to draw attention to the impact of budget decisions on Pennsylvania's most vulnerable — children, seniors, people with disabilities and families living in poverty.

Third and State This Week: Teacher Salaries, Legislative Updates & Paid Sick Leave in Philadelphia

This week at Third and State, we blogged about teacher salaries and a paid sick leave bill in Philadelphia City Council, along with providing legislative updates on efforts to cut unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania and advance a state budget with deep cuts to education and human services.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On workplace issues, Steve Herzenberg takes apart an analysis by an economist for the National Federation of Independent Business that vastly overstates the impact of a paid sick leave bill now before Philadelphia City Council.
  • On unemployment insurance, Mark Price reports on the defeat of an anti-worker unemployment compensation bill in the state House, and has a follow-up post with data on income in York County to explain what is at stake when politicians tinker with unemployment.
  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal writes about House passage of a state budget that cuts $1 billion from public schools and reduces Governor Corbett's budget by $471 million for health and human services for women, children and people with disabilities.
  • Finally, on education, Steve Herzenberg highlights a project that is educating Americans on the relatively low teacher pay in this country compared to the most successful educational systems in the world.

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

Pa. House Approves $27.3 Billion Budget

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 109-92 Tuesday to approve a state budget that sets spending at $27.3 billion for the 2011-12 fiscal year — the same amount proposed in Governor Tom Corbett's March budget plan.

The budget cuts $1 billion from public schools and reduces Governor Corbett's budget by $471 million for health and human services for women, children and people with disabilities. It fails to enact a drilling tax on natural gas and leaves untouched a $500 million state revenue surplus.

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