Federal Budget and Taxes

Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind

Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a great deal for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.

One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.

However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).

Those families between 46% and 100% of poverty earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.

We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.

Third and State This Week: What to Make of Fiscal Cliff Deal, PA Revenue Update & Slow Down Lottery Privatization

It was a short week at Third and State coming off the holidays, but we still have a few must reads for you. We blogged about the Fiscal Cliff deal, the Corbett administration's decision to slow down the lottery privatization train and the latest on state revenue collections.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward wrote that the Fiscal Cliff deal reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood blogged about December revenue collections which put the state $171 million ahead of estimates midway through the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the Corbett administration made the right decision in slowing down the lottery privatization train and that even more time was needed for a full and transparent review.

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

What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?

Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal. Take our two-question survey.

The agreement reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled. The urgency of the Fiscal Cliff has dissipated, but significant threats remain to federal funding for state and local services as well as refundable tax credits for low-income working families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Third and State This Week: Few in PA Get Top Tax Cuts, Single Bid for PA Lottery, Minimum Wage Boost & Latest on PA Jobs

Note: Third and State is taking a well-deserved break from December 23, 2012 through the end of the year. We will be back in action January 2, 2013. See you then.

This week at Third and State, we blogged about new analyses finding that few Pennsylvanians would benefit from extending tax cuts for high-income earners and that questions remain about the plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery. Plus, a look at the 10 states that will give minimum wage workers a raise in the New Year and the latest Pennsylvania jobs report.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward shared a new analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center finding that President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg observed that "one is the loneliest number" especially when it comes to the number of bids received by the commonwealth to privatize the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Steve's post highlights the findings of a recent Keystone Research Center policy brief on the lottery plan.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that the decline in Pennsylvania's unemployment rate in November is a welcome change, but that the jobless rate remains unchanged from a year ago at 7.8%.
  • On wages, Jamar Thrasher blogged about 10 states (none of which are called Pennsylvania) that will increase their minimum wage rates in the New Year.
  • Finally, Chris Lilienthal shared charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities here and here providing some perspective in the debate over extending the Bush tax cuts.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center issued a statement saying that a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce/IHS report on Pennsylvania's energy future makes inflated claims about gas drilling's impact on job growth and tax revenue, while ignoring the costs that drilling imposes on citizens, the environment, and communities.

Few in PA Would Be Affected by Ending High-income Tax Cuts

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out today with a new analysis finding that President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.

In over half of the state's 67 counties, fewer than 1 in 100 residents (that's 1%) would pay the higher marginal tax rate on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.

The Bush Tax Cuts in Charts, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared some charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing just how expensive the Bush tax cuts for high-income earners have been and will continue to be if policymakers extend them.

Today I wanted to highlight a few other charts from the Center to provide some more perspective in the debate over extending tax cuts for top earners and reducing the federal deficit.

The Bush Tax Cuts in Charts, Part 1

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorites tells many a budget story with pictures. Below are a few of the Center's best charts on the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President Bush, extended in 2010 under President Obama, and now set to expire in January.

Third and State This Week: Americans Living on $2 a Day, Mayors Talk Federal Deficit and Youth Unemployment

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the increasing number of children and families living in extreme poverty, the latest on the state revenue picture, Pennsylvania mayors on a federal deficit deal and the long-term effects of youth unemployment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On poverty, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a report on the increasing number of children and families living in extreme poverty, defined as surviving on $2 or less per day.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a message from the mayors of Philadelphia, Allentown, York, and Reading to members of Congress as they craft a deficit reduction plan.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote about November state revenue collections and the threat new business tax cuts pose to the state's ability to invest in the fundamentals that ensure long-term growth.
  • And on jobs and unemployment, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a study showing the long-lasting damage a recession can have on young people unable to find their first job.

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

Mayors Ask Congress to Enact Deficit Plan that Keeps Cities Strong

Federal deficit reduction must include significant new revenue so that Pennsylvania cities, their residents and local economies can thrive again.

This was a critical point made by several Pennsylvania mayors during a conference call with reporters this week focused on what is at stake for cities in a federal deficit plan. The call was organized by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Third and State This Week: Listen to Main Street, Tax Cuts Drive State Funding Gap and More on Federal Fiscal Debate

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how corporate tax cuts are contributing to a gap between state expenditures and revenues, an effort to get real small business voices heard in the federal fiscal debate, corporate tax subsidies run amok in the states, a fiscal cliff primer from Springfield's favorite CEO, C. Montgomery Burns, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • In response to the state's midyear budget briefing, Sharon Ward shared an infographic showing how unaffordable state business tax cuts are driving a gap between expenditures and revenues in the next budget.
  • On tax subsidies, Mark Price blogged about a New York Times report detailing the tax breaks and credits provided by state and local governments to businesses.
  • On federal taxes, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Main Street Alliance's efforts to get real small business voices heard in the federal fiscal debate. Mark Price wrote about the different priorities of Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators in addressing federal deficit reduction.
  • On the state budget and other policies, Mark Price blogged about editorial page assessments of Governor Tom Corbett's administration midway through his first term.
  • Finally, we had a Friday Funny featuring Mr. Burns of The Simpsons explaining the fiscal cliff.

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

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