General Policy

Newt to Blame for the Obamacare Website (?) and the Closing of the Office of Technology Assessment

One of my standard phrases since I came to Pennsylvania in December 1995 to launch Keystone Research Center is that "Newt Gingrich eliminated my old job and created my new job."

Celebrate #GivingTuesday With Us

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Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that was started last year as an opportunity at the start of the Giving Season to support important causes that help create a better world.

On this #GivingTuesday, please consider the Keystone Research Center (KRC) and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) in your donation dollars.

PA Budget and Policy Center Launches Redesigned Web Site

In case you missed it last week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) launched a redesigned web site, making it easier to access the center's analysis, commentaries, blog posts, webinars, and much more. The site has a new look, but more importantly it puts everything you need right at your fingertips:

Can the Right Afford to Acknowledge Low Upward Mobility in the U.S.?

Michael Laracy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation emailed around an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria on the boffo new study on upward mobility in the United States. The Zakaria piece appeared in the Amazon, I mean Bezos, I mean Washington Post.

Morning Must Reads: One Bidder? What Could Go Wrong?

The Keystone Research Center does not oppose the use of private contractors to provide services to federal, state and local governments as a matter of philosophy.

On pragmatic grounds, we DO support good governance, including carefully assessing the costs and benefits of privatization. Too often privatization is a goal in and of itself and good governance — careful weighing of pros and cons — isn't even in the vocabulary of privatization advocates.

Third and State This Week: PA Falling Short on Voter ID & $500 Million Lost to Natural Gas Tax Giveaway

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a report on problems with the state's implementation of the Voter ID Law, revenue lost to the state by not having a Marcellus Shale drilling tax, private schools choosing "Opportunity Scholarship" students and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the Voter ID Law, Sharon Ward wrote about a recent Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center report finding that the commonwealth is not ready to issue a photo ID to everyone who needs one for the November election.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged that while natural gas drillers extracted over $8 billion worth of natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale between July 2009 and June 2012, the commonwealth lost out on hundreds of millions in revenue by not having a drilling tax in place.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a Reading Eagle article explaining that private schools will be able to pick and choose students who are eligible for Opportunity Scholarships.
  • And Chris Lilienthal had a Must Read this week about the restoration of mortgage assistance for struggling homeowners and the appointment of a school vouchers advocate to lead the financial recovery process at the Chester Upland School District.

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

Chaos at the PennDOT

Now that Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has given the green light to Pennsylvania’s strictest in-the-nation Voter ID Law, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will have to make their way to their local PennDOT office to get a photo ID. We can tell you, it won’t be easy.

Midday Must Reads: The Post-Budget Edition

Just days after Governor Tom Corbett signed the Pennsylvania state budget a few minutes before midnight, the effects are transparent — even if the process was not. To start things off today, the Harrisburg Patriot-News takes a look at the newly passed state budget.

Morning Must Reads: Macho Macho Governors

The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer have stories on a Government Accountability Office report that disputes claims made by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to justify his cancelation of a tunnel project between New York and New Jersey.

What Works in Pennsylvania

The Campaign for What Works has a great video illustrating the interconnectedness of the investments our state makes in a variety of areas from early childhood education to public transportation to workforce training. These investments not only improve the quality of life of Pennsylvanians but create jobs and build a stronger economy.

As the campaign says on its home page: "Pennsylvania works when our state budget supports what works."

Take a minute to watch the video and pass it on.

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