State Budget and Taxes

Third and State Recap: Disappointing Job Growth, Ryan Budget's Impact on PA, Revenue Update, Frack Attack & More

After taking a break last week, Third and State is back with a blog recap for the past two weeks. We blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report and Pennsylvania revenue update, the billions Pennsylvania could lose under Congressman Paul Ryan's budget, Ed Rendell making the case for gas drilling in New York, how "Tax Freedom Day" overstates the taxes most Americans pay, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that U.S. job growth continued to disappoint in March.
  • On federal tax and budget issues, Sharon Ward blogged about how Paul Ryan's budget cuts critical federal funding for Pennsylvania's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services, while providing big new tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals. We also wrote about tax credits for working families that are in jeopardy in federal deficit reduction talks. Finally, Chris Lilienthal blogged that the Tax Foundation's "Tax Freedom Day" presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward blogged about how former Governor Ed Rendell got into some hot water last week with an op-ed in the New York Daily News touting the economic benefits of hydrofracking. Mark Price shared new data on natural gas-related employment in Pennsylvania.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote that state revenue collections fell short of projections in four of the last five months, which could put 2013-14 spending in jeopardy.
  • On health care, Sharon Ward shared a recent op-ed she wrote explaining why Pennsylvania should take a federal opportunity to expand health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Chris Lilienthal explained how you can let your lawmakers know that expanding health coverage is the right choice for Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a recent report finding that the nation's poor students are not attending the nation's top colleges and universities.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is launching a new policy webinar series next week, starting with one Tuesday that will debunk the tax and budget myths promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
  • Read PBPC's full analysis of Pennsylvania's March revenue report.
  • Learn more about the threat facing federal tax credits for working families — including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

Another Revenue Shortfall in March Could Put 2013-14 Spending in Jeopardy

Pennsylvania tax collections in March fell short of estimate by nearly $100 million (or 2.3%) — in what is typically the commonwealth’s biggest month for tax collections. The total shortfall, after accounting for non-tax revenue, was $69 million, or 1.6% below monthly revenue targets.

Pennsylvania still has a revenue surplus for the fiscal year, but it has shrunk from a high of $171 million in December to $36 million in March. I have a more detailed analysis, including all the numbers, at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's web site. Below are the highlights.

‘Tax Freedom Day’ Overstates Taxes Most Americans Pay

Tax Foundation's Average Far More Than What Most Americans Pay in Federal TaxesThe Tax Foundation released its annual “Tax Freedom Day” report today that once again presents a misleading picture of the taxes that most Americans pay. It takes a one-size-fits-all approach to taxpayers — one that fits Bill Gates and Warren Buffett a lot better than it fits most Americans. The result is an “average” tax rate that is likely higher than the tax rates paid by eight out of every 10 U.S. households.

The Tax Foundation’s calculation also relies on estimates that often change once the actual numbers come in because it is based on anticipated tax revenue from thousands of states and municipalities. These have proven to be hard to predict, particularly in tough economic times, making the estimated data unreliable. 

Pennsylvania Could Lose Billions Under Ryan Budget

Federal Medicaid and CHIP Funding Cut by 31% Under Ryan Block Grant in 2023Federal deficit reduction should not fall squarely on the backs of low-income and middle-class families. Yet that is exactly what happens in the budget plan approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.

That plan, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, cuts critical federal funding for Pennsylvania's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services, while providing big new tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals.

PA Lawmakers Need to Hear that Extending Health Care Is the Right Choice

Cover the CommonwealthOur state lawmakers in Harrisburg have a choice:

Accept $43 billion in federal funds allocated to help 700,000 Pennsylvanians get health care coverage and to strengthen our state’s health care system.

OR

Leave hundreds of thousands of working people with no options for health coverage and our hospitals and clinics without critical resources.

Third and State This Week: PA Jobs Update, Special Tax Break Bills, and How Sequestration Got Its Name

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the latest on Pennsylvania jobs, how special tax breaks are coming at the expense of classrooms and communities, and how those across-the-board federal spending cuts became known as "sequestration."

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about the Pennsylvania jobs report for February. The state's unemployment rate declined slightly, driven by a decline in the state's labor force. Mark also shared an earlier podcast where he explained that weak employment growth and strong labor force growth over the past several months in Pennsylvania meant there have been fewer new job openings available for a growing number of new job seekers.
  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal wrote that after making deep cuts to schools, early childhood education, and health services, Pennsylvania lawmakers are now considering new tax breaks that will largely benefit a small number of higher-income earners. Sharon Ward shared another segment of her recent interview with Triad Strategies where she explained that the state cost of corporate tax cuts has more than tripled since 2002, with little to show for it.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a primer on federal sequestration from Mother Jones magazine that includes how it got that name.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) has more on three special tax break bills moving in the state Legislature that will come at the expense of Pennsylvania schools and communities.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

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

Podcast: As More People Look for Work in PA, There Are Not Enough Jobs to Be Had

I was recently asked whether growth in the Pennsylvania labor market in recent months was a positive sign for the state's economy. It is a welcome sign, but as I explain in this two-minute podcast, there are fewer and fewer new job openings available for these new job seekers. And that has driven up the state's unemployment rate.

Three New Tax Breaks Will Cost PA Schools and Services

After making deep cuts to schools, early childhood education, and health and human services, Pennsylvania lawmakers are now considering new tax breaks that will largely benefit a small number of higher-income earners.

Podcast: PA Business Taxes Cut But Where Are the Jobs?

In a recent interview with Triad Strategies, I outlined some of our concerns about state tax cuts enacted over the past decade and the Governor's plan to enact a new round of state corporate income tax cuts in the years ahead.

Business tax cuts enacted since 1999 have drained close to $3 billion this year alone from state coffers. The cost of the tax cuts has more than tripled since 2002, with little to show for it. Pennsylvania ranked 27th in job growth in 1999-2000 and 34th in 2011-12.

As I told Triad: "If the goal is to use these tax cuts to improve Pennsylvania’s ability to create jobs, it just has not worked.”

Sharon Ward of the PA Budget and Policy Center Discusses Tax Policy from Triad Strategies on Vimeo.

Third and State This Week: Budget Pie Day, Cost of Tax Cuts and an Update on State Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the impact of corporate tax cuts on state investments in education and health care, why state lawmakers got half a pie from advocates this week, and the takeaway from Pennsylvania's latest jobs report. Plus we shared a podcast with Sharon Ward on education policy in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state taxes and the budget, Michael Wood blogged about a new Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) policy brief showing that the skyrocketing cost of corporate tax cuts are competing with state funding for schools, the state’s colleges and universities, early childhood education, and human services. 
  • With business tax cuts taking a larger share of the budget pie these days, Chris Lilienthal wrote about how advocates with the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition delivered half a pie to every state legislator this week to send a message that Pennsylvania needs real tax reform. We also shared a 3-minute video with highlights from the Pie Day press conference.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price analyzed the January jobs report for Pennsylvania.
  • And on education, Sharon Ward talked with Triad Strategies about PBPC's new Education Facts Page, which presents data and analysis on public, charter and private education in the commonwealth.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Read PBPC's latest policy brief titled $3 Billion Bill for Corporate Tax Cuts in 2012-13: Reduced Revenue Does Little for Jobs, Undermines Schools and Human Services.
  • Learn more about public pension reform in Pennsylvania at the Keystone Research Center's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Check out PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page, with more information on the federal opportunity to expand state coverage and how you can take action.
  • And view PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

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

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