Wages

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.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • 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.

ON FACEBOOK:

  • 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.

A LOOK AHEAD:

  • 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.

Imagine...A Minimum Wage Your Daughter Could Live On

The Australian minimum wage this year is $15.96 per hour. I know this mostly because my daughter lives in Melbourne these days (not forever, I hope). When she arrived there 18 months ago, she got a job at a minimum-wage restaurant. She earned enough to cover her rent and other expenses.

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.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • 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!

How Do PA Taxes Compare to New Jersey and West Virginia?

On Wednesday, I blogged about a new report out from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy showing Pennsylvania is among the "Terrible 10" most regressive tax states in the nation. This means state and local taxes fall disproportionately on middle-class, working and poor families to the advantage of the richest taxpayers.

A Minimum Wage Increase? It's Happened in Nearly 20 States.

Pennsylvania could learn a thing or two about how to breathe new life into its economy from 10 states preparing to give their lowest-wage workers a raise in the new year. 

Morning Must Reads: One Bidder? What Could Go Wrong?

The Keystone Research Center does not oppose the use of private contractors to provide services to federal, state and local governments as a matter of philosophy.

On pragmatic grounds, we DO support good governance, including carefully assessing the costs and benefits of privatization. Too often privatization is a goal in and of itself and good governance — careful weighing of pros and cons — isn't even in the vocabulary of privatization advocates.

Pulling Apart: Income Inequality Has Grown in PA

Income inequality has grown in all parts of the country since the late 1970s, and Pennsylvania has not been immune to the trend, as a new national study out today shows.

A joint effort of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, the study finds that income gaps widened in Pennsylvania between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s, with earnings for low-income families dropping as the income of the wealthiest continued to rise.

Third and State This Week: Court Halts Voter ID Law, Changing the Subject on Payday Lending and Paying the Boss to Work

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election, an effort to change the subject on payday lending, a report on rising student debt, a lawsuit against the state to restore General Assistance and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, we highlighted a statement from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) on a Commonwealth Court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election. Chris Lilienthal also highlighted MSNBC's coverage of PBPC's recent report on the state's flawed implementation of the Voter ID Law.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a recent state Senate hearing on the subject and why changing the subject doesn't make high-interest payday lending any better an idea in Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pew Research Center report on the growing burden of student debt especially among the lowest-income students.
  • On jobs, Mark Price explained how the story of a Bucks County manufacturer who is finding it difficult to recruit workers made him think of a joke about parrots and economists. He also broke down the employment picture in Allentown.
  • On state tax policy, we shared a video from Reuters exploring the problems with programs that allow certain businesses to keep the income taxes paid by employees. The Pennsylvania House is considering a similar program.
  • On public welfare, Mark Price blogged about a lawsuit aimed at restoring Pennsylvania's General Assistance program.

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

Reuters Video: Is Your Boss Pocketing Your State Income Taxes?

In a letter to state lawmakers this week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center highlighted several concerns with a proposed tax credit program that would allow certain qualifying businesses to keep the income taxes paid by their employees. Paying the boss to work? It could get a vote in the state House when the Legislature returns to session the week of October 15.

Believe it or not, this is not a new idea. A number of states have similar programs. Good Jobs First calls it "job blackmail." David Cay Johnston of Reuters explains it all in this great (and short) video. Watch it.

Pennsylvania Faces a Shortage of Skilled Parrots

The economist J.R. McCulloch once quipped that to pass for an economist, a parrot need only learn the phrase: “supply and demand, supply and demand.” In many cases, explaining trends in the economy often comes down to understanding supply and demand. 

Syndicate content