Federal Budget and Taxes

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 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!

Friday Funny: Mr. Burns Explains the Fiscal Cliff

A little fiscal cliff humor to take you into the weekend.

Listen to Main Street in Federal Tax Debate

You hear about small business quite a bit in the debate over extending federal tax cuts for upper income earners, even though the vast majority of small business owners do not benefit from those top tax cuts. Only 3% of taxpayers with business income above $250,000 would be impacted if tax cuts for top earners expired next year.

Morning Must Reads: Different Priorities For Different Senators

Proposals to avert the fiscal cliff shouldn't increase poverty or inequality or slow the economic recovery. Those simple common-sense principles appear to be gaining increasing visibility and support, which is the best news this morning.

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.

Tax Cuts for the Top Offer Little Bang for the Buck

Extending High-Income Tax Cuts a Poor Way to Support the RecoveryBetween now and January, Congress will develop a long-term solution to the nation’s deficit. One of the proposals on the table is to allow tax cuts enacted more than a decade ago under President George W. Bush to expire for high-income earners.

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report finds that extending most of the expiring tax cuts — but not those for high-income earners — will boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.3%. Extending the tax cuts on top earners yields a much smaller return on investment, boosting GDP by only 0.1%.

Third and State This Week: The October No Surprise, Sizing Up Service Cuts, and Small Biz Owners Say End Top Tax Cuts

This week at Third and State, we blogged about U.S. job growth in October and what it means, how human service cuts are impacting the lives of Pennsylvanians, a poll showing a majority of small business owners support ending tax cuts for top earners, and more.


  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about today's jobs report from the federal government signaling U.S. employment growth is back on track. Mark also delved further into the recent claim of a state official that the Marcellus Shale industry is bringing a "tsunami of jobs" to Pennsylvania.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins recapped a recent forum in Montgomery County where speakers testified to the importance of investing in prevention and community supports for people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new poll finding that a majority of small business owners support ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners. We also previewed a forum at Dickinson College in Carlisle next week featuring economist Dean Baker talking about the federal fiscal cliff.
  • And on voter ID, Jamar Thrasher wrote about advocates' concerns that ads in Pennsylvania are providing misleading information about voter ID in the upcoming election.

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

The Fiscal Cliff: New Heights of Sensationalism

Dean BakerIn recent months, the media have frequently raised the specter of the federal government falling off the "fiscal cliff."

Next Wednesday evening, economist Dean Baker will take on the "fiscal cliff" in a talk at Dickinson College in Carlisle. If you plan to be in the Harrisburg-Carlisle area, come out and hear Dean explain why much of the discussion about "falling off the fiscal cliff" fundamentally misrepresents both the short- and long-term budget challenges we face as a nation.

Small Biz Owners Support Ending Top Tax Cuts, Poll Finds

A majority of small business owners agree that ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners is the right course for the nation, according to a new poll from the Small Business Majority.

The poll reflects a pragmatic spirit among small business owners, with nearly 6 in 10 saying that government can play a productive role in helping small businesses thrive. 

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