All of us at Third and State hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend. Before heading to your weekend barbecues, check out our blog wrap. We wrote this week about a statewide day of action for education, a new survey of school districts squeezed by budget cuts, and a bait and switch approach to tax credit programs for private school scholarships. We also had posts on payday lending, the prevailing wage and more.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On education and the state budget, Mark Price summed up the news coverage from the statewide day of action to mark Education Advocacy Week and explained why the state's approach to school funding is more a priorities problem than a revenue problem. Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new survey of school districts indicating that more cuts to the classroom are on the way thanks in part to state funding cuts. And Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the political marketing of private school scholarship tax credits as alternatives for students in distressed communities is a bait and switch.
On federal tax policy and the economy, Chris Lilienthal shared a Marketplace interview with wealthy venture capitalist Nick Hanauer who said that investing in the middle class, rather than tax breaks for the wealthy, is the key to future and shared prosperity.
And in Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted an editorial on why legalizing predatory payday loans would be bad for Pennsylvania, and passed on a letter to the editor showing that actual Pennsylvania job creators support the state's prevailing wage law.
This week at Third and State, we blogged about Pennsylvania's April jobs numbers and state revenue report, a new report on uncompensated care costs at hospitals in the commonwealth, rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths in alcohol control states, and much more.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about Pennsylvania’s April jobs report and an effort to undermine the state’s unemployment insurance system.
On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council finding that uncompensated care costs at hospitals rose 11% in 2010-11, the same year the state ended the adultBasic program.
On the privatization of alcohol distribution, Mark Price shared a new Keystone Research Center analysis finding that states with tighter control over the sale and distribution of alcohol have lower alcohol-related traffic deaths than states that take a more hands off approach.
On state taxes, Michael Wood wrote about the April state revenue report, which marked the third straight month of collections exceeding monthly estimates.
Unless you have been away for two weeks, you will note I have been posting a lot about House Bill 2191, which if enacted would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.
If you listen to only the policymakers pushing this legislation, you would conclude this bill is a common-sense reform aimed at boosting consumer protection. The reality is quite different since the bill opens the door to a kind of predatory lending that exploits working families and destroys jobs.
This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Pennsylvania Senate's passage of a budget, movement on a bill to legalize predatory payday lending in the state, a big rally at the state Capitol, analysis of the April jobs report, and much more.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about the Senate's passage of a state budget bill this week that improves upon the Governor's budget but still makes deep cuts to education and health services. Earlier in the week, she had a blog post on the Senate budget when details first emerged. Chris Lilienthal highlighted a Monday rally at the Capitol that brought 700 Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg to call on lawmakers and the Governor to save the General Assistance program and restore cuts proposed to county services for children, the homeless and people with disabilities. Plus, Mark Price blogged about concerns that the state will not spend all the tax revenue it collects, creating a further drag on the economy.
On banking, Mark Price blogged about committee approval of a state House bill that would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for the state's consumers and economy.
On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared analysis of April's U.S. jobs report.
Finally, Mark Price had a roundup of news on the economic impact of state and federal budget cuts, the prospect of higher interest rates on student loans and the geography of manufacturing.
Room 148 of the State Capitol might as well double as a Capitol broom closet. That's where the House Consumer Affairs Committee this morning rushed out amendments to House Bill 2191, which legalizes predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.
The amendments to HB 2191 were misleadingly pitched as adding more consumer protections to the bill. Even the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society took a look at these amendments and said they do "nothing to mitigate the already harmful aspects of HB 2191," and that one amendment "actually worsens the problem it claims to solve."
This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new revenue report from the Independent Fiscal Office offering a more upbeat view of the economy moving forward, and the likely impact of a state House-approved bill to reduce corporate taxes by nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade. We also posted Morning Must Reads on payday lending legislation and the economic cost of an asset test for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On the state budget, Sharon Ward blogged about the Independent Fiscal Office's new report predicting a smaller revenue shortfall for the current year and more robust revenue collections for 2012-13. Mark Price also had analysis on the new revenue report, noting that state budget cuts have hurt job growth.
On tax policy, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the House's approval of a plan to reduce corporate taxes by nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade without any commitment from businesses to put Pennsylvanians back to work. Sharon Ward shared her Philadelphia Inquirerop-ed on this bill and a memo she sent to editors and reporters outlining her concerns with the bill.
Finally, Mark Price had Morning Must Reads on legislation in the state House to legalize payday loans charging upwards of 300% in annual percentage rates, and the lost economic activity from implementing an asset test for people receiving food stamps.