Human Services

Final Push for State Budget Starts Next Week

Next week begins the final push in Harrisburg for a state budget. I put out a memo today to editors and reporters providing an overview of where things are at with the budget. Here's the overview:

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. 

Third and State This Week: PA Senate Approves Budget, Payday Lending Advances & a Harrisburg Rally

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Pennsylvania Senate's passage of a budget, movement on a bill to legalize predatory payday lending in the state, a big rally at the state Capitol, analysis of the April jobs report, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about the Senate's passage of a state budget bill this week that improves upon the Governor's budget but still makes deep cuts to education and health services. Earlier in the week, she had a blog post on the Senate budget when details first emerged. Chris Lilienthal highlighted a Monday rally at the Capitol that brought 700 Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg to call on lawmakers and the Governor to save the General Assistance program and restore cuts proposed to county services for children, the homeless and people with disabilities. Plus, Mark Price blogged about concerns that the state will not spend all the tax revenue it collects, creating a further drag on the economy.
  • On banking, Mark Price blogged about committee approval of a state House bill that would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for the state's consumers and economy.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared analysis of April's U.S. jobs report.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a roundup of news on the economic impact of state and federal budget cuts, the prospect of higher interest rates on student loans and the geography of manufacturing. 

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

PA Senate Approves Budget, But Deep Cuts Remain

The Pennsylvania Senate approved a $27.6 billion budget plan today by a vote of 39-8. The plan improves upon the budget proposed by Governor Tom Corbett, but deep cuts to education and health services remain.

On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a rare display of bipartisanship, adopted two Democratic amendments and unanimously approved the spending plan.

Let the Games Begin: PA Senate Announces Details of Budget Proposal

Action on the state budget began in earnest Monday with state Senator Jake Corman, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, releasing important details on the Senate budget plan that will be advanced this week.

The proposal would increase Governor Tom Corbett's budget proposal by $500 million, with total spending rising from $27.15 billion to $27.65 billion for 2012-13. The Senate plan rejects $191 million in fund transfers and new revenue and proposes new spending cuts of $165 million. Those spending reductions were not yet detailed.

Third and State This Week: A Brighter Revenue Picture, Impact of Corporate Tax Cuts and Payday Lending

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new revenue report from the Independent Fiscal Office offering a more upbeat view of the economy moving forward, and the likely impact of a state House-approved bill to reduce corporate taxes by nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade. We also posted Morning Must Reads on payday lending legislation and the economic cost of an asset test for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward blogged about the Independent Fiscal Office's new report predicting a smaller revenue shortfall for the current year and more robust revenue collections for 2012-13. Mark Price also had analysis on the new revenue report, noting that state budget cuts have hurt job growth.
  • On tax policy, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the House's approval of a plan to reduce corporate taxes by nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade without any commitment from businesses to put Pennsylvanians back to work. Sharon Ward shared her Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed on this bill and a memo she sent to editors and reporters outlining her concerns with the bill.
  • Finally, Mark Price had Morning Must Reads on legislation in the state House to legalize payday loans charging upwards of 300% in annual percentage rates, and the lost economic activity from implementing an asset test for people receiving food stamps.

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

Morning Must Reads: Happy May Day, SNAP Asset Test to Cost PA $45 Million & Deaths from Falls

Happy International Workers Day! What's that, you ask? Historian Jacob Remes breaks it down for you.

This Week at Third and State: Corporate Tax Cuts, Payday Lending, More on Inequality and Food Stamp Challenge

This week at Third and State, we blogged about state legislation that would cut corporate taxes by close to a billion dollars by the end of the decade, what inequality has to do with the funding of infrastructure, the Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge, payday lenders eyeing a return to Pennsylvania, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward highlighted concerns about a state House bill that would cut corporate taxes by close to a billion dollars by the end of the decade.
  • On income inequality, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a recent op-ed connecting inequality with an underfunding of the nation's infrastructure. In Morning Must Reads on inequality, Mark Price shared a New York Times analysis on increasing income inequality in America and an editorial on the "festering problem" of exorbitant CEO pay.
  • On poverty and food assistance, Chris Lilienthal blogged about the Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge going on this week and the importance of food assistance to Pennsylvania families struggling in this economy.
  • On the financial industry, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news coverage of an effort by payday lenders to advance legislation in Pennsylvania allowing interest rates on short-term loans as high as 419%.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read on rising mortgage foreclosures and an effort to provide better disclosure of fees for 401K plans.

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

Enough to Eat?

As Mark Price blogged earlier this week, several Philadelphia area politicians are participating in a weeklong challenge to live on $5 a day worth of food. The protest has been prompted by the state's decision to cut off food stamps for people under 60 with more than $5,500 in cash or certain other assets; for those 60 and older, the threshold will be $9,000.

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