Economic Development

Second Prize ... Two Evenings with Steve Forbes

The Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania (MASCPA), headquartered in York, has been led for a decade by Mike Smeltzer, a Tea Party Republican ... who is also a good friend and partner on workforce development issues.

When Mike ran in a Republican Congressional primary in 2010, I offered to emulate suburban Philadelphia Republicans — the "Rendellicans" — who supported Governor Rendell by organizing the "Smelocrats." For some reason, Mike didn't take me up on this offer.

Lunch Is Served: Bucks Students Make a Tasty Case for Investing in Career Training

If the high school students were a little nervous as they prepared lunch Thursday for several Bucks County elected officials, they didn’t show it.

Morning Must Reads: Corporate Tax Subsidies Run Amok and Fiscal Cliff Armageddon!

Dirty HippieI'm back, and that is completely unrelated to the fact that the blog in my absence featured people with bad wigs.

On Sunday, The New York Times launched the series The United States of Subsidies, which details the tax breaks and credits given out by state and local governments to businesses. Below you will find a link to the opening story, today's entry on Texas and finally a link to Pennsylvania data.

Pennsylvania Tax Giveaways and an Island in the Sun

A few weeks ago, the Pennsylvania General Assembly fast-tracked a bill in the waning days of the legislative session to allow certain private companies to keep most of the state income taxes of new employees. News reports to follow indicated the new tax giveaway was designed to lure California-based software firm Oracle to State College.

Third and State This Week: The Manufacturing Jobs Score, Charter School Bill Dies & a Win Against Corporate Welfare

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on manufacturing job growth by presidential administration, the stalling of a charter school bill in the House, a rare victory in the endless fight against corporate welfare, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On manufacturing jobs, Stephen Herzenberg highlighted a report he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project on state-level manufacturing job growth and loss across 16 post-World War II presidential administrations.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price offered his quick take on Friday's report showing the commonwealth's jobs picture in September remains headed in the wrong direction. Mark Price also blogged about a new report finding that skills shortages in manufacturing are a local, not a national, problem.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about a food corporation's withdrawal of a request for a property tax abatement a day after Michael Wood of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center raised questions about it in an op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a charter school reform bill that stalled this week in the state House.
  • On income inequality, Mark Price blogged about a piece in The New York Times that drew parallels between income inequality practices in old Venice and present day America. Mark also wrote that the biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States will be runaway inequality.

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

Morning Must Reads: A Rare Victory In The Endless Fight Against Corporate Welfare

In a rare victory against corporate welfare, Ahold USA has withdrawn its request for property tax breaks for a meat-packaging facility it is building in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County.

Third and State This Week: Paying the Boss to Work, a Payday Lending Poll, and Austin Powers on Tax Incentives

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the problems with a "pay your boss to work" tax credit plan, what the Austin Powers movies can teach us about economic development, the gas industry taking on Pennsylvania charities, an online payday lending poll, and more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state tax policy, Michael Wood noted the top 10 reasons to vote no on a bill that would allow many Pennsylvania employers to pocket the state income taxes paid by new employees.
  • On taxes and economic development, Mark Price channeled his vast knowledge of Austin Powers' quotes to comment on an effort by a food corporation to secure a property tax abatement for a meat repackaging plant in Lower Allen Township.
  • On Marcellus Shale, Stephen Herzenberg wrote about the need for reliable data on natural gas drilling after the Marcellus Shale Coalition criticized the funding priorities of certain Pennsylvania foundations.
  • On payday lending, Chris Lilienthal urged readers to vote in an online poll asking Pennsylvanians if payday lenders should be able to open storefronts in the state.
  • And on jobs and the economy, Mark Price chronicled the many informative responses debunking former GE CEO Jack Welch's suggestion on Twitter that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics altered September's jobs report.

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

Paying the Boss to Work

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering legislation that would allow many Pennsylvania employers to pocket the state income taxes paid by new employees. The plan, House Bill 2626, could come up for a vote in the House Monday.

While billed as an economic development strategy, the bill provides a multi-year subsidy for existing companies to do what they do anyway: fill vacant positions. It is costly and will lead to more cuts to schools and services for children, seniors and people with disabilities.

Morning Must Reads: How 'bout No, You Crazy Dutch....

The Only Proper Villian We Could Find From the NetherlandsOn Monday night, the Lower Allen Township commissioners in Cumberland County considered a proposal from Ahold USA, the corporate parent of Giant Food Stores, for a $400,000 property tax abatement on a meat repackaging plant on which the company has already broken ground. (Ahold USA is itself the subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Ahold.)

The company has neglected a basic principle of the economic development game through which companies extract subsidies and tax breaks from states and localities where they were going to build anyway: until you have the subsidy in hand, don't give away that it will not impact your location decision.

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.

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