Higher Education

Punxsutawney Phil and Governor Corbett

I published a commentary this week on Governor Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal this week in the Allentown Morning Call. Check it out.

Punxsutawney Phil is predicting more chilly weather ahead, but a winter-weary Gov. Tom Corbett must have spring on his mind. His budget address Tuesday painted a bright and rosy picture of Pennsylvania's future even as we remain in the grip of a long economic winter.

What's in the Governor's 2014-15 Budget?

General Fund Spending: 2014-15 Executive BudgetGovernor Tom Corbett has proposed a 2014-15 state General Fund budget that would spend $29.4 billion, $927 million, or 3.3%, more than the current fiscal year.

Death of an Adjunct

Appearing last week on a radio program in Pittsburgh with labor historian Charles McCollester, I heard for the first time the story of Margaret Mary Vojtko, a 25-year adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University who died recently in poverty at the age of 83.

It's 'Invest in Education, Stupid'

"It's the economy, stupid," Clinton campaign manager James Carville famously said during the 1992 U.S. presidential election campaign.

Third and State This Week: Fewer College Grads Starting Businesses and State Revenue Collections in 2012-13

This week at Third and State, we blogged about student loan debt deterring college grads from starting their own businesses, income inequality and efforts to turn back prevailing wage laws for construction workers, and revenue collections during the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher blogged that more and more American college graduates are declining to start their own businesses partly because of the rising costs of tuition and crushing student loan debt.
  • On income inequality and the prevailing wage, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that too many people in the "1%" (and the smaller groups at the very, very top) seem to have convinced themselves that they are not only more deserving but also somehow different than — better than — other people.
  • And on state budget and taxes, Michael Wood shared the following chart tracking monthly revenue collection trends in the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
    2012-13 General Fund Revenue Surplus/(Deficit) by Month

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

$1 Trillion in Student Loan Debt Hampering Young Entrepreneurs

It appears more and more American college graduates are declining to start their own businesses due to the rising costs of tuition and crushing student loan debt. Bloomberg examines the obstacles facing young entrepreneurs:

Third and State This Week: Payday Lending Debt Trap, Medicaid Rally, Pensions, State Budget, and More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the payday lending debt trap, a big rally at the Capitol in support of expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania, 10 reasons Governor Corbett's pension plan will cost taxpayers more, the latest with the state budget, Pennsylvania's housing market, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a Senate bill that will open the door to payday lenders to come to Pennsylvania and charge triple-digit annual interest rates on short-term loans.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a Capitol rally that brought out hundreds of people from across Pennsylvania to put some faces (and stories) to the ongoing debate over expanding Medicaid coverage in Harrisburg.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about superintendents from cuts-ravaged urban school districts coming to town to press for more education funding, among other happenings in the Capitol this week.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg shared the Keystone Research Center's top 10 reasons Governor Corbett's pension plan will dig a deeper hole for taxpayers.
  • On housing, Mark Price shared some charts on the Pennsylvania housing market.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Congratulations to the honorees of the 2013 Keystone Research Center Annual Awards Dinner: Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees, who received the Sol Hoffman Award, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, which received the Susan C. Eaton Award.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's media statement on the House passage of a 2013-14 budget bill and get the latest budget news here.
  • Read a fact sheet on the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.
  • Read a memo to lawmakers from the Keystone Research Center on how transitioning new public employees to 401(k)-type retirement plans will cost taxpayers more. Read KRC's policy brief on how public pensions inject millions of dollars into local economies across Pennsylvania. Learn more about public pension reform here.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania with data on student enrollment, school funding and more.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

On Tap Today: Budget Vote, School Rally & Lives on the Line

Today is a busy day at the State Capitol. Superintendents from cuts-ravaged urban school districts are in town to press for more education funding. Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Allentown, and Reading, among others, are looking at a third year of deep cuts to student programs.

Pittsburgh Fares Better Than Other Rust-Belt Cities Thanks to Education

From 1970 through 2006, rust-belt cities Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh have all seen a considerable decline in neighborhood population, but Pittsburgh has fared better than the rest.

Third and State This Week: Corporate Tax Cuts Without Closing Loopholes, Challenges Face Poor College Students

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how a corporate tax cut bill in the state House will come at the expense of schools and health care in Pennsylvania, the challenges facing low-income students attending college, and an honor bestowed on one of our own for his workforce development work.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and tax policy, Sharon Ward shared how state House lawmakers voted on an amendment that would have taken steps to close the Delaware loophole. She also shared a podcast from a media briefing on a House bill enacting hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts over the course of a decade. And Chris Lilienthal had more on the tax cuts, which will come at the expense of investments in schools, infrastructure and local services.
  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher wrote that too many low-income students who pursue college are sidetracked by economic and other challenges — in some cases, leaving them with big debts but no degree.
  • On workforce development, Steve Herzenberg blogged about receiving the Workforce Professional of the Year award from the Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania and what he took away from hearing awards dinner keynote speaker Steve Forbes.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) released an analysis of House Bill 440, legislation that advances the Governor's corporate tax cut plan at the expense of investments that really matter in our schools and communities.
  • The Keystone Research Center (KRC) released a summary of testimony on the negative social impacts of retail liquor privatization delivered at a roundtable discussion this week hosted by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join Steve Herzenberg and Senate staffer John Raymond on Tuesday, April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.
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