Third and State This Week: Pa.'s 2011-12 Budget, Job Numbers, Medicaid Cuts, and Lost Drilling Tax Revenue

This week, we blogged about a new analysis of the 2011-12 state budget, $200 million in lost revenue from legislative inaction on a drilling tax, what's at stake with proposals to cut Medicaid, a look at the recent national jobs report and more.


  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward highlighted a new analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on the recently-enacted 2011-12 state budget. Sharon also shared an op-ed she wrote grading the budget (it got a D).
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Chris Lilienthal wrote that the state has lost $200 million since October 2009 from legislative inaction on a Marcellus Shale drilling tax.
  • Intern Chaquenya Johnson made her Third and State debut, with two blog posts on jobs and the economy. One offers some analysis from experts on June's national jobs report ("a litany of bad news," in the words of one), and the other details the findings of a paper on the experiences of Denmark and Germany in the Great Recession and what we can learn from them.
  • Finally, on health care, guest blogger Athena Ford of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network explained what is at stake for seniors, families, jobs and more with proposals to cut Medicaid.

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

Legislative Inaction on Drilling Tax Costs Pa. $200 Million

This afternoon, Pennsylvania will hit a less-than-noble milestone: $200 million lost to legislative inaction on a Marcellus Shale drilling tax.

We're talking about lost revenue that could have helped prevent cuts to schools, colleges, environmental protection and health services for the state’s most vulnerable.

What Cuts to Medicaid Could Mean For You, Your Family, Your Job

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By Athena Ford, Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN)
Originally published July 1, 2011 on the PHAN Blog

Here’s something that won’t come as a surprise to you: Folks in Washington have some difficult decisions to make given the current fiscal and political climate. That, however, is not a free pass to gut Medicaid funding.

A Detailed Look at Pennsylvania's 2011-12 Budget

Two weeks ago, the Pennsylvania General Assembly completed work on a 2011-12 state budget that achieved Governor Tom Corbett’s primary objective — to meet a target spending number of $27.3 billion or lower, regardless of the impact.

The budget spends $27.249 billion, the lowest amount since the 2008-09 enacted budget, with cuts totaling more than $960 million.

Still trying to piece it all together? Well, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has you covered. On Wednesday, we released a detailed analysis of the new budget. Check it out and get all the details.

‘A Litany of Bad News’: What the Experts Are Saying about the June Jobs Report

Chaquenya JohnsonBy Chaquenya Johnson, Intern

As Center for American Progress senior economist Heather Boushey put it, the national jobs report in June is “a litany of bad news, with nothing below the headline number that can provide optimism that enhanced job growth is right around the corner.”

If the May report on unemployment and payroll statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was disappointing, June’s statistics are just as discouraging for the labor market.

The number of people unemployed (14.1 million), along with the unemployment rate (9.2%), remained essentially unchanged from May. The unemployment rates among the major worker groups — adult men, adult women, teenagers, whites, blacks, and Hispanics — showed little or no change.

What are the experts saying?

Gov. Corbett's First Budget Deserves a D

I have an op-ed in today's edition of The Patriot-News grading the 2011-12 state budget. Not a very promising report card. Check it out.

Your Job or Your Hours

Chaquenya JohnsonBy Chaquenya Johnson, Intern

When the economy is hit by a sudden drop in demand, employers typically react by cutting employment or hours of work — sometimes both.

Third and State This Week: Marcellus Jobs, Pa.'s Revenue Surplus and a Misleading Health Care Study

This week, we blogged about Marcellus Shale jobs, the state's year-end revenue surplus and a thorough debunking of a misleading study on the Affordable Care Act.


  • On Marcellus Shale jobs, Stephen Herzenberg writes about a statement from Lieutenant Governor James Cawley repeating widely-circulated figures that risk a misleading impression of job creation in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale industries. Steve also reflects on the Keystone Research Center's recent back-and-forth with the Marcellus Shale Coalition over industry job growth.
  • As the state ended the 2010-11 fiscal year with a $785 million revenue surplus, Michael Wood shares the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's year-end Revenue Tracker.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal highlights a recent blog post from Ron Pollack at Families USA that thoroughly debunks a misleading study about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on employer-provided health coverage.

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

Lieutenant Governor Repeats Misleading Marcellus Jobs Number

In a statement today, Lieutenant Governor James Cawley repeated widely-circulated figures that risk a misleading impression of job creation in Marcellus Shale industries in Pennsylvania.

As we pointed out in a press release this afternoon, Marcellus industries are creating jobs, but the total since the end of 2007 is less than 10,000 — not 72,000 as many readers of the Lieutenant Governor’s statement will end up believing.

Families USA Debunks Misleading Health Care Study

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Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are latching onto a new "study" from the firm McKinsey and Co. implying that the health reform law will prompt as many as half of all U.S. employers to drop employee health coverage, pay a penalty and dump their workers into new health insurance exchanges.

The law requires that state-based health insurance exchanges be up and running by 2014. The exchange is a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can review and choose from a variety of health plans from different insurance providers. Individuals who do not receive insurance through an employer can purchase health coverage on the exchange with the help of public subsidies based on income.

So should we be worried by the McKinsey study? Will employers start eliminating employee health benefits come 2014? In a word, no. As Ron Pollack of Families USA explains in a recent blog post:

This is pretty powerful stuff. Except of course for one teeny, tiny, little detail: It's not true.

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