Seniors

Four Actuaries and a Pension Plan: Tobash Plan Is a Non-Starter

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Last week, the Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) released a cover memo and reports from four actuaries analyzing the newest public pension proposal championed by Governor Corbett, one put forward by Rep. Mike Tobash. We put out a press release and brief on this proposal Monday.

Camelot: Where King Arthur...I Mean Queen Dianne...Earns a Cool £2.1 Million

Pennsylvania Senate hearings on lottery expansion earlier this week focused on increasing state revenue for seniors' programs by expanding lottery games under public management (to include keno). This was a welcome shift from last year's proposed privatization of the lottery with the Camelot Group, a British company, and a temporary reprieve from more recent rumors about privatizing lottery management.

What’s At Stake for Schools in Property Tax Plan?

The latest proposal to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania would leave school districts with $2.6 billion less in overall funding within five years, according to an analysis from the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office. Matthew Knittel of the IFO presented the findings during a Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday.

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!

Third and State This Week: What to Make of Fiscal Cliff Deal, PA Revenue Update & Slow Down Lottery Privatization

It was a short week at Third and State coming off the holidays, but we still have a few must reads for you. We blogged about the Fiscal Cliff deal, the Corbett administration's decision to slow down the lottery privatization train and the latest on state revenue collections.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward wrote that the Fiscal Cliff deal reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood blogged about December revenue collections which put the state $171 million ahead of estimates midway through the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the Corbett administration made the right decision in slowing down the lottery privatization train and that even more time was needed for a full and transparent review.

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

What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?

Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal. Take our two-question survey.

The agreement reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing — and it leaves much unsettled. The urgency of the Fiscal Cliff has dissipated, but significant threats remain to federal funding for state and local services as well as refundable tax credits for low-income working families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Slow Down Lottery Privatization for Full and Transparent Review

A few weeks ago I wrote about a series of problems with a plan to privatize the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery. The effort had elicited just one bid from United Kingdom-based Camelot Global Services.

On New Year's Eve, Governor Corbett announced that his administration had negotiated an extension of Camelot's bid (which was set to expire) through January 10. I put out a statement today reacting to that news.

One Is the Loneliest Number

Three Dog Night: OneOne is the loneliest number that you'll ever do …

Although I’m dating myself, some of you may recognize the Harry Nilsson song made famous by Three Dog Night. We recommend that Governor Tom Corbett download it to his iPod as he contemplates whether to accept a solitary bid from Camelot Global Services to take over the operation of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Whether privatizing state services or getting a new roof for your house, having a single lonely bidder is a red flag for a fleecing — for overpaying the contractor.

Third and State This Week: Court Halts Voter ID Law, Changing the Subject on Payday Lending and Paying the Boss to Work

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election, an effort to change the subject on payday lending, a report on rising student debt, a lawsuit against the state to restore General Assistance and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, we highlighted a statement from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) on a Commonwealth Court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election. Chris Lilienthal also highlighted MSNBC's coverage of PBPC's recent report on the state's flawed implementation of the Voter ID Law.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a recent state Senate hearing on the subject and why changing the subject doesn't make high-interest payday lending any better an idea in Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pew Research Center report on the growing burden of student debt especially among the lowest-income students.
  • On jobs, Mark Price explained how the story of a Bucks County manufacturer who is finding it difficult to recruit workers made him think of a joke about parrots and economists. He also broke down the employment picture in Allentown.
  • On state tax policy, we shared a video from Reuters exploring the problems with programs that allow certain businesses to keep the income taxes paid by employees. The Pennsylvania House is considering a similar program.
  • On public welfare, Mark Price blogged about a lawsuit aimed at restoring Pennsylvania's General Assistance program.

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

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