Posts by chris lilienthal

Expansion of Health Care Will Boost PA Economy, Hospital Study Finds

Acting on the federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage will give Pennsylvania’s economy a real shot in the arm. As a new study from the Hospital and HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania shows, it will inject at least $3.2 billion annually into the state’s economy and support 35,000 to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years.

‘Tax Freedom Day’ Overstates Taxes Most Americans Pay

Tax Foundation's Average Far More Than What Most Americans Pay in Federal TaxesThe Tax Foundation released its annual “Tax Freedom Day” report today that once again presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay. It takes a one-size-fits-all approach to taxpayers — one that fits Bill Gates and Warren Buffett a lot better than it fits most Americans. The result is an “average” tax rate that is likely higher than the tax rates paid by eight out of every 10 U.S. households.

The Tax Foundation’s calculation also relies on estimates that often change once the actual numbers come in because it is based on anticipated tax revenue from thousands of states and municipalities. These have proven to be hard to predict, particularly in tough economic times, making the estimated data unreliable. 

PA Lawmakers Need to Hear that Extending Health Care Is the Right Choice

Cover the CommonwealthOur state lawmakers in Harrisburg have a choice:

Accept $43 billion in federal funds allocated to help 700,000 Pennsylvanians get health care coverage and to strengthen our state’s health care system.

OR

Leave hundreds of thousands of working people with no options for health coverage and our hospitals and clinics without critical resources.

Three New Tax Breaks Will Cost PA Schools and Services

After making deep cuts to schools, early childhood education, and health and human services, Pennsylvania lawmakers are now considering new tax breaks that will largely benefit a small number of higher-income earners.

Tax Cuts Take a Bite Out of State Budget Pie

Half a PieAdvocates delivered half a pie to every Pennsylvania legislator today. Why half a pie?

To remind them that a decade of large tax cuts for businesses has left schools, health care services, and local communities with a smaller share of the state budget pie.

Tax cuts enacted since 1999 have drained close to $3 billion this year alone from state coffers. The cost of the tax cuts has more than tripled since 2002, with little to show for it. Too often, these tax cuts are put in place with very little accountability or obligation for companies to create jobs. In fact, Pennsylvania ranked 27th in job growth in 1999-2000 but fell to 34th in 2011-12.

Some Welcome Job News in February — in Perspective

This morning the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payrolls increased by 236,000 jobs. Over the past quarter, the nation has seen average monthly job growth of 191,000. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell to 7.7% in February, largely tranks to a drop in labor force participation.

Below are some key observations from D.C.'s leading labor economists on today's jobs report:

Portion of Tobacco Funds Must Support Health Care for Poor, Court Rules

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A Commonwealth Court judge has ruled that the diversion of tobacco settlement funds away from health care for low-income Pennsylvanians violated the state Constitution. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more this morning:

A state judge has ordered the Corbett administration to reinstate funding for programs that provided health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians.

Senate to Vote on Plan to Avert Worst of Sequester Cuts

Update: The American Family Economic Protection Act failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate for the bill to proceed to a final vote. The vote was 51-49 in favor of advancing the bill.

Automatic federal cuts to a broad range of crucial services are scheduled to go into effect tomorrow. These cuts will have a direct, disastrous impact on Pennsylvania families and children, and leading economists have warned of the damaging impact it will have on job creation and our economy. 

The Senate has an opportunity today to take a first step toward halting these across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration. The American Family Economic Protection Act is up for a vote; if enacted, it would delay cuts until January 2014 to give Congress time to develop a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

New Jersey Becomes Latest to Embrace Medicaid Expansion. How About It, PA?

Chris Christie is the latest to join a growing bipartisan group of governors embracing the opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The New Jersey governor announced his decision during his budget address today. The Star Ledger has more:

Expanding Medicaid Would Add 41,000 New PA Jobs

Governor Tom Corbett's decision to pass on a federal opportunity to expand health coverage under the Affordable Care Act is a missed opportunity on many levels. It is a missed opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of hardworking low-income Pennsylvanians who would have the security of knowing that they can see a doctor when they get sick. And it is a missed opportunity for the state's health care economy.