Federal Budget and Taxes

Midday Must Reads: Are We Getting What We Bargained for with the Gas Industry?

Stealthily included in the flurry of bills passed as part of the Pennsylvania budget is a provision that puts a moratorium of up to six years on gas drilling in parts of southeastern Pennsylvania. Columnist Walter Brasch, writing in the Hazelton Standard Speaker, had a few questions for the lawmakers who approved that concept.

Morning Must Reads: Special Needs Kids, Unemployment Insurance, Student Loan Debt and CEO Pay

Welcome back from the Memorial Day Weekend! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning explores the impact of charter schools on school districts.

The New York Times reports on declining aid to the unemployed.

Third and State This Week: An Education Priorities Problem, Payday Lending, and a Bait and Switch

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. 


  • 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.

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

Venture Capitalist: The Middle Class (Not the Wealthy) Are the Engine of Economic Growth

On Friday, Marketplace had an interesting interview with a wealthy venture capitalist named Nick Hanauer who recently gave a TED talk on income inequality that generated some controversy because he made a strong case for raising taxes on wealthy earners. Give a listen to the full interview below.

Here's the takeaway:

Prosperity for people like me is a consequence of the number of customers I have, not the tax rate that I pay. If low taxes were the way that people like me created wealth, then we'd be starting our companies in the Congo or Somalia or Afghanistan, but we're not. We come to places where there are lots and lots of customers...

Morning Must Reads: Training and Education? Let Them Go To The Pittsburgh Opera

When workers lose their jobs in a recession, they have time that could be spent in training programs targeted to the needs of employers. Of course, there is a hitch: during a recession, employers are not hiring, so at the very time there are lots of people available to train, employers don't need new workers. As the economy improves (like it is now), it opens the door to training tied to the needs of businesses that are hiring. 

Morning Must Reads: The Impact of Economic Austerity, Student Loans and the Geography of Manufacturing

The U.S. economy is growing, albeit too slowly to make a substantial and badly needed dent in the unemployment rate. Growth in the U.S. economy will almost certainly mean continued growth in the Pennsylvania economy.

The most important risk to Pennsylvania's job growth in 2012 remains job losses among teachers, nurses and other public servants caused by federal and state budget cuts. 

Third and State This Week: Closing Loopholes on Tax Day, Angry Shareholders and PA Job Numbers

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a call to close tax loopholes on Tax Day, shareholders unhappy with big CEO paydays, Equal Pay Day, new state job numbers and more.


  • On tax and budget issues, Chris Lilienthal highlighted where our tax dollars are invested, while Sharon Ward blogged about a Tax Day call to close corporate tax loopholes in Harrisburg. Chris also passed on the Top 10 Tax Facts from Demos and The American Prospect.
  • On income inequality, Michael Wood wrote about a couple of recent instances of CEOs being taken to task by shareholders over excessive pay.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price broke down the new Pennsylvania job numbers, and told us all about Equal Pay Day.
  • Finally, on higher education, Mark blogged about news stories on falling state support for higher ed and rising student loan debt.

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

Think You Know a Lot about Federal Taxes?

Taxes MatterThe good folks at The American Prospect and Demos have been making a compelling case for tax reform with a series of blog posts over the past week. It is a must read for anyone who cares about improving tax fairness.

This Tax Day, Say No to Loopholes

It's that time of year again — time to file your state and federal tax returns. At the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's web site, we have a resource page showing you how your tax dollars are spent and why closing tax loopholes is such a big priority.

Federal taxes finance various public services, including Social Security, national defense and health care services, as the chart to the right from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates.

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