Privatization

Video: Debating Liquor Privatization

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I am a guest on PA Newsmakers this weekend along with Katrina Anderson of the Commonwealth Foundation debating the wisdom of privatizing the state's wine and spirits store system. I outline why privatization would be bad news for Pennsylvania from both a fiscal and social perspective. Check out the video. The privatization segment runs for the first 15 minutes.

Third and State This Week: Budget Analysis, Food Security Danger, Unremarkable Private Job Growth & Payday Lenders

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, the danger facing America's leading food security program, Pennsylvania's unremarkable private-sector job performance, and a gambit by payday lenders that backfired.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's detailed analysis of the 2013-14 budget, and Michael Wood explained that tax changes enacted along with the budget made some steps toward reform but weigh the state's Tax Code down with more special interest tax breaks.
  • On the federal budget, Sharon Ward wrote that legislation separating agricultural programs from nutrition supports funded through the farm bill poses a threat to food assistance for millions of struggling parents, children, and vulnerable citizens.
  • On jobs, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Pennsylvania’s private-sector job growth has almost stalled since about a year into Governor Corbett's term.
  • On consumer protection, Mark Price explained how payday lenders won few friends in the state Senate when they convinced House leaders to insert language into a must-pass Fiscal Code bill stating it was the intent of House and Senate leaders to enact payday legislation in the fall.

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Everything You Need to Know about 2013-14 Budget

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has released a full detailed analysis of the 2013-14 state budget plan spending $28.376 billion, roughly $645 million (or 2.3%) more than in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the budget into law late in the evening of June 30, 2013. Overall, the plan is $64 million less than the Governor proposed in February, reflecting nearly $113 million in reduced spending for public school pensions and school employees’ Social Security payments along with a shift of $90 million in General Fund spending off budget to other funds.

2012-13 General Fund Summary
(in $ Millions)
  2012-13 2013-14 Gov. 2013-14 Final Change f/ 2012-13 % Change
General Fund $27,731 $28,440 $28,376 +$645 2.3%

Third and State This Week: Revenue Update, Assessing PA Job Growth, Expanding Health Care, Pensions Webinar & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new Independent Fiscal Office report showing state revenues lagging earlier estimates, a study on salaries at nonprofit and for-profit human service providers, the budget and economic benefits of expanding Medicaid health coverage, a webinar on the public pensions debate, and job growth in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and tax policy, Michael Wood blogged about a new report from the Independent Fiscal Office forecasting over $500 million less available for the next budget than revenue estimates in the Governor’s February budget proposal. Sharon Ward wrote about a new Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study of the salaries of nonprofit and for-profit human service providers.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that policy decisions made by governors impact whether a state’s economy takes on more water, or bails successfully, as it rides the wave of the national economy.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about two studies demonstrating that Pennsylvania’s economy and state budget will get a big boost if the commonwealth accepts federal funding allocated to expand Medicaid health coverage.
  • Finally, we shared a webinar hosted this week by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center titled "Untangling Pennsylvania's Pension Reform Debate."

IN OTHER NEWS:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Third and State This Week: Minimum Wage, No Go on Lottery Privatization, State Revenue Update and a Look Ahead

This week at Third and State, we blogged about structuring the minimum wage to ensure low-wage workers are sharing in the growing economic pie, why lottery privatization was bad policy (as well as being illegal), a check in on the President's State of the Union, a look at state revenue collections in January, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that a minimum wage that keeps pace with productivity growth would allow workers at all income levels to share in the expanding economic pie.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Attorney General's rejection of a contract to privatize the lottery is good news for Pennsylvania and the future of senior services funded by the lottery.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood provided an update on state revenue collections, which came in slightly below estimate in January but remain ahead of targets for the fiscal year.
  • Finally, Mark Price offered his take on President Obama's State of the Union address, notably the President's plan to increase investments in infrastructure and universal pre-kindergarten education, and his proposals to reduce inequality.

ON FACEBOOK:

  • Check out photos from the kick off of the "Cover the Commonwealth" Campaign. More than 150 advocates came to Harrisburg to urge Governor Corbett and lawmakers to take advantage of a federal opportunity to draw down $43 billion in funds to strengthen the state's health care economy and expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.
  • Pittsburgh City Paper has some interesting infographics on the Governor's budget proposal, using analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
  • Like us on Facebook: Keystone Research CenterPennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

A LOOK AHEAD:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget Summit is less than a week away. Register today for the Summit on February 21 in Harrisburg. It offers an in-depth look at Governor Corbett's budget, the latest on the federal budget, and what it all means for families and communities across the commonwealth.

There's a New Sheriff in Town

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Pennsylvania's new Attorney General Kathleen Kane yesterday found that Governor Corbett's contract privatizing the state's lottery is illegal.

While this was a legal decision, it was also good news for Pennsylvanians concerned about the implications of privatizing the lottery, including the loss of revenues the lottery provides to programs for seniors.

Third and State This Week: PA Among Top 10 Most Regressive Tax States, Liquor Privatization and Latest Jobs Report

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new study finding Pennsylvania is among the "Terrible 10" most regressive tax states in the nation, the lost revenues and increased social costs that would come with privatization of the state liquor stores, what the latest national jobs report means, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state and local taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finding that middle- and low-income working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in taxes than the wealthiest earners. Chris had a follow up post that looked at how Pennsylvania taxes compared to neighboring New Jersey and West Virginia. We also blogged about what a progressive tax system should look like.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg responded to Governor Tom Corbett's plan to privatize liquor stores by highlighting the likely impacts: an increase in excessive alcohol consumption and its related negative impacts as well as the loss of some of the nearly half a billion dollars in revenues generated by the state system.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that in light of January's national jobs report, the recovery remains on track, but the pace of job growth is perilously slow.
  • And on education and the state budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a news report on Budget Secretary Charles Zogby's address to the Pennsylvania Press Club, and the "false choice" he presented between education funding in the next budget and changes to state pensions.

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

Misplaced Priorities: Another Run at Privatizing Alcohol Distribution

Governor Tom Corbett announced on Wednesday his new plan for privatizing the distribution of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania.

We pointed out in a press release the likely impact of the plan if implemented: an increase in excessive alcohol consumption and its related negative impacts, including traffic fatalities — plus a loss of some of the nearly half a billion dollars in revenues that the state system currently delivers to the state budget through taxes and profits.

Third and State Recap: The Medicaid Expansion, Lost Education Jobs and Costs of Lottery Privatization

Over the past two weeks at Third and State, we blogged about lost jobs in public schools, the latest state jobs report, what's at stake in the decision to expand Pennsylvania's Medicaid program, how much lottery privatization could end up costing seniors' programs, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about new data showing employment in Pennsylvania's public schools was at a decade low in the 2011-12 school year. Mark Price also put Pennsylvania's December jobs report in some perspective.
  • On health care, Michael Wood highlighted an infographic showing that if Pennsylvania opts out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, it will create a coverage gap for working families earning between 46% and 100% of poverty.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that the Corbett administration's plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery could end up costing seniors' programs a billion dollars or more.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price wrote about the latest numbers on direct jobs created by shale drilling, which accounts for just 0.38% of all Pennsylvania jobs.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins wrote about Bucks County students who served up a tasty five-star meal to area elected officials last week to underscore the value of investing in career training and technical education.

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

Pennsylvania Lottery Privatization Could Cut Funds for Senior Programs by a Billion Dollars or More

The Corbett administration seems bound and determined to privatize the management of Pennsylvania's lottery despite public and legislative skepticism. In the latest plot twist, the administration announced late Friday that it had already awarded the contract to Camelot Global Services PRIOR TO a Senate Finance Committee hearing held today.

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