Poverty

Not Exactly a Mahogany-paneled Corporate Boardroom

Montgomery County Budget ForumA hundred days after passage of the state budget, it is too soon to fully assess the impact of cuts to human services, Montgomery County's administrator for behavioral health and developmental disabilities told a group of 50 consumers and social service providers at a budget forum last week.

Still, Administrator Eric Goldstein told the forum at the Norristown Recovery and Education Center that he has concerns about the state's move toward block grants for human services funding. Unlike Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties, Montgomery County did not apply to be part of this year’s new pilot block grant for the Human Services Development Fund.

Eric Goldstein was joined by speaker after speaker who testified to the importance of the modest dollars invested in prevention and community supports for people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse.

A Look at Poverty-Wage Jobs in Pennsylvania

In this year's State of Working Pennsylvania, we explored the prevalence of poverty-wage jobs in the commonwealth. 

We define poverty-wage jobs as those paying hourly wages that would not be sufficient for a full-time (40 hours a week), year-round (52 weeks) worker to earn an income greater than the poverty line for a family of four with two children. 

Third and State This Week: PA Jobs Advantage Recedes, Supreme Court Has Voter ID Concerns, Poverty Remains High and the Manufacturing Jobs Score

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the shrinking (and now disappeared) advantage Pennsylvania had over the national unemployment rate, concerns voiced by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over the Voter ID Law, the "manufacturing jobs score" by presidential administration, new data on poverty in Pennsylvania and much more. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg fact checked a recent assessment of the Corbett administration's jobs record, and Mark Price blogged about the August jobs report showing that the advantage Pennsylvania had over the national unemployment rate has disappeared.
  • On jobs and manufacturing, Stephen Herzenberg shared a commentary he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the University of Iowa on the "manufacturing jobs score" by presidential administration since 1948. 
  • On voter ID, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to send the legal challenge to the law back to the Commonwealth Court — and the concerns voiced by the court about the law's implementation.
  • On poverty, Chris Lilienthal highlighted media reports on new Census data on poverty in Pennsylvania and in major metro regions of the state. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center also put out an overview of the new Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On hunger, Jamar Thrasher blogged about how more colleges and universities are opening food banks for students who can't afford their next meal.
  • And in Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news reports on Hershey's plan for a $300 million manufacturing plant and on Occupy Wall Street one year later.

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

Some of America's College Students Go Hungry

You may have heard of the "Freshman 15," the idea that students who head off to college are bound to gain some weight in their first year. Some students, however, are not sure they can afford their next meal.

Morning Must Reads: Poverty Remains High in PA

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Poverty in Pennsylvania remains well above where it was before the recession started in late 2007. New data from the Census Bureau puts the state's rate at 13.8% in 2011, up from 11.6% in 2007. Poverty among children in Pennsylvania was also up, from 15.9% in 2007 to 19.2% in 2011. Pennsylvania's overall and child poverty rates are better than the U.S. rates for 2011 — 15.9% overall and 22.2% among children.

Median income in Pennsylvania, meanwhile, dropped from $52,677 in 2007 to $50,228 in 2011, according to the data. That is slightly lower than U.S. median income, which was $50,502 in 2011.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will post later today an overview of the new Census data taken from the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS includes a large sample size allowing us to determine poverty rates at the state and local level for many communities across the commonwealth.

For now, here's a roundup of some of the morning press reports on the new Census data.

Third and State This Week: Voter ID Before Supreme Court, Fewer Uninsured Americans & State Revenue Update

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Voter ID arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, new Census data showing a decrease in the number of uninsured Americans, state revenue collections through August, and much more.

 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the Voter ID Law, Jamar Thrasher wrote about arguments before the state Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the law during which a few justices raised concerns about the number of voters impacted and asked why the commonwealth was rushing to implement the law for the fall election.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Census Bureau data released this week showing that more Americans were insured in 2011 than the year before, thanks largely to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 
  • On income inequality and poverty, Mark Price wrote about the bad news in the Census data — incomes are down and poverty is up in Pennsylvania compared to before the recession. Chris had also blogged about what to expect in the Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about state revenue collections through August but noted that September will tell a fuller story about the state's revenue picture.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news stories on the Chicago teachers strike and an analysis of the job growth performance of past presidential administrations.

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

Poverty and Income in Pennsylvania

Update: You can read a full overview of the Census data released this week from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Since Chris got to bring you the good news in the latest release of Census data on health insurance, it falls to me to deliver the bad news regarding incomes and poverty.

What to Expect in Census Report: Fewer Americans Uninsured But More Living in Poverty

The U.S. Census Bureau will release new data Wednesday on poverty, income and health insurance rates for 2011 based on its annual Current Population Survey (CPS). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has analysis of what we can expect to see in that report.

Third and State Recap: Weak Jobs Report for July, Water Polo and the Economy, and the Ryan Budget in PA

Over the past two weeks, we have been busy blogging about July reports on jobs and state revenues, how much the Ryan budget would cost Pennsylvania, what water polo swimsuit malfunctions have to do with the economy, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price analyzed Pennsylvania's jobs report for July, and the news was not good.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote that July tax collections were solid, starting the commonwealth out on the right foot in the new fiscal year.
  • On the federal budget, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report estimating that Pennsylvania would lose more than $1 billion in federal funding for education, law enforcement, clean water, and other projects under the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan.
  • On the economy and regulations, Steve Herzenberg noted that the need for rules to discourage water polo players from ripping off each other’s swimsuits underscores the need for regulations to promote more constructive competition in our economy. (You can also listen here to Steve discuss this theme while guest hosting The Rick Smith Show August 8.)
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article detailing how charter schools play by a different set of rules than public schools.
  • In Morning Must Reads over the past two weeks, Mark Price highlighted news reports on the Corbett administration's decision to end programs that help low-income households file their taxes; people impacted by the elimination of General Assistance in Pennsylvania; the need for paid sick leave for more than 40 million American workers; and even more resources on the Ryan budget plan.
  • And in a Friday Funny today, Chris Lilienthal shared a Monty Python clip about some rather enthusiastic Mosquito Hunters that had some of us thinking about the state's new Voter ID Law.

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

Morning Must Reads: Helping the Poor Not a Core Mission of the PA Department of Public Welfare?

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning reports on the move by the Corbett administration to end programs that help low-income households file their taxes.

These programs are especially important because they raise the rate at which low-income households file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The credit provides these households with much-needed income that ends up getting spent in the local community.

Asked about the cuts, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Welfare, an agency that spent thousands on a flagpole recently, noted that helping people to apply for the EITC is not a core service of the Department of Public Welfare.

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