Germany Makes University Education Free Again -- Pennsylvanians Take Note

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Our just-released report on Pennsylvania higher education points out that student tuition and fees at Pennsylvania's four-year state-owned universities now cover nearly 75% of university costs. Prompted by this, our friend Charlie Bacas sent us today a story on states in Germany making tuition free again.

Pennsylvania Needs to Stop Shortchanging Its Future and Invest Smartly in Higher Education

While there's been a lot of focus recently on K-12 school funding cuts in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania higher education has experienced even larger state funding cuts in percentage terms. Pennsylvania's starting point for investing in higher education, moreover, was already near the bottom.

The list of poor rankings that reflect Pennsylvania's underinvestment in higher education is somewhat mind blowing.

For example, Pennsylvania is 48th for investment in higher education per capita.

Memory Lane -- Larry Summers on Why Some People Mow Lawns and Others Don't

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While searching for something else online, I just tripped over a letter to the editor from 1988. The letter was published during the 1988 presidential campaign, in response to a New York Times profile of the economists' advising George H.W. Bush ("Poppy") and Michael Dukakis ("Tankman").
 
Larry Summers was the economist advising Mr. Dukakis. The profile of Prof.

Pennsylvania is now dead last in job growth since January 2011

As we reported on Monday new jobs data for September were not encouraging with payrolls in Pennsylvania falling 9,600 jobs over the month.

According to data for all the states released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 39 states.

September job losses mark three consecutive months of job loss in Pennsylvania

On Friday the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported that the unemployment rate fell from 5.6% to 5.7% while nonfarm payrolls fell by 9,600 jobs in September.  

Educational Tax Credits: Increasing Public Funding of Private Schools at the Expense of Public Schools

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In the last few days of the legislative session, state lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill that would expand and unify the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC).  Tax credits provide taxpayer subsidies to businesses that fund scholarships to students attending private and religious schools, pre-K through 12th grade.  House Bill 1207, a proposal by Rep.

Another victory in the fight to keep predatory payday lending out of Pennsylvania!

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As many of you are aware Pennsylvania law prohibits lenders from charging exorbitantly high interest and fees on small loans in Pennsylvania.  In the last several years the Payday lending industry which in other states regularly charges fees and interest of 300% or more has been lobbying the state legislature to offer similarly destructive financial products to Pennsylvania consumers.  In our briefing paper Bankrupt by Design: Payday Lenders Target PA Working Families we found that expanding this form of lending in Pennsylvania would cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars and result in the loss of good jobs from the state’s economy.

Earlier this week Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman from Centre County attempted to get the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee to adopt a resolution that would authorize a study of payday lending in Pennsylvania.

A funny thing happened to our data on the way to Philadelphia

If you have been following this gubernatorial election, or just watching television, you might have noticed that the Wolf campaign has been arguing that 27,000 jobs were lost in education in Pennsylvania.  That’s a figure my colleagues and I released in late August in our annual State of Working Pennsylvania.  To generate that number we used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate education employment in local governments in the 2010-11 school year, which ran from July 2010 to June 2011.

Another Thumbs Down on Ride Sharing...Unless It Catalyzes New (OK, Old) Union Forms

A good friend earlier this week shared this story on ride sharing.

The story underscores the strong parallels between ride sharing and the deregulated trucking industry, which we pointed out a few months ago.

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