Transportation

Fund PA Transportation Projects with Mix of Cash and Debt Financing

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center put out the following press release Tuesday on testimony I delivered to the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee on transportation funding:

Pennsylvania could significantly increase its long-term investment in roads, bridges, and public transit with a mix of cash and debt financing, testified Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, before a state House committee today.

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%

$2-$2.5 Billion in Funding for Transportation Being Negotiated with Budget

Dueling transportation funding plans from the Pennsylvania Senate and House are still being hashed out in the Capitol this weekend along with the budget.

PA's Unemployment Rate Drops as More Job Seekers Drop Out

Today, the Corbett administration released jobs data for February, and to answer your next question, yes, they did just release January jobs data on March 8. The release schedule gets a little delayed and then compressed at the beginning of each New Year as the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises data through a process called benchmarking.

So on to the numbers: Pennsylvania unemployment fell one-tenth of one percentage point to 8.1% in February. As I explained this morning, with employment growth weak and labor force growth strong, the state's unemployment rate has been rising since last March. Well half of that equation changed this month as employment as measured in the household survey fell by 6,000, and the labor force also fell by 13,000. As a result, the number of unemployed fell, and the unemployment rate fell very slightly. 

Governor's Budget Does Little to Undo Damage of Last Two Years

In case you missed the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's media statement on Governor Corbett's 2013-14 budget proposal this week, I pass it on to you below. It provides a nice overview of the various components of the Governor's budget. If you want more specifics, read our detailed 13-page budget analysis here.

Third and State This Week: Listen to Main Street, Tax Cuts Drive State Funding Gap and More on Federal Fiscal Debate

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how corporate tax cuts are contributing to a gap between state expenditures and revenues, an effort to get real small business voices heard in the federal fiscal debate, corporate tax subsidies run amok in the states, a fiscal cliff primer from Springfield's favorite CEO, C. Montgomery Burns, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • In response to the state's midyear budget briefing, Sharon Ward shared an infographic showing how unaffordable state business tax cuts are driving a gap between expenditures and revenues in the next budget.
  • On tax subsidies, Mark Price blogged about a New York Times report detailing the tax breaks and credits provided by state and local governments to businesses.
  • On federal taxes, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Main Street Alliance's efforts to get real small business voices heard in the federal fiscal debate. Mark Price wrote about the different priorities of Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators in addressing federal deficit reduction.
  • On the state budget and other policies, Mark Price blogged about editorial page assessments of Governor Tom Corbett's administration midway through his first term.
  • Finally, we had a Friday Funny featuring Mr. Burns of The Simpsons explaining the fiscal cliff.

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

How About Some Real Solutions to Problems that Do Exist?

With Governor Tom Corbett's first term approaching the halfway point, the editorial pages are settling in on a theme for their assessments of the administration's performance over the last year: not a lot of action on important issues.

Morning Must Reads: One Bidder? What Could Go Wrong?

The Keystone Research Center does not oppose the use of private contractors to provide services to federal, state and local governments as a matter of philosophy.

On pragmatic grounds, we DO support good governance, including carefully assessing the costs and benefits of privatization. Too often privatization is a goal in and of itself and good governance — careful weighing of pros and cons — isn't even in the vocabulary of privatization advocates.

Morning Must Reads: October's Job Numbers and Now Is The Time To Fix Stuff!

Late in the day Friday, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported that the state's unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 8.1% (the U.S. rate is 7.9%) and nonfarm payrolls grew by 7,500 jobs.

Syndicate content