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.

August job growth disappoints in Pennsylvania

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that nonfarm payrolls in Pennsylvania grew by 100 jobs in August and the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 5.8%.

To be clear that 100 is not missing a zero.

The jobs picture with respect to resident employment was actually substantially worse as 35,000 fewer residents reported having a job in August. 

Giving Away the Golden Egg: Shale Tax Revenue Could Top $1 Billion by 2015-16

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Here’s one estimate that Pennsylvania exceeded in 2014—gas production in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region came in ahead of projections for the first half of the year. Had Pennsylvania adopted a severance tax - a prospect still on the table as late as June - the Commonwealth would have $1 billion in revenue by 2015-16, and $780 million in new funds. That’s enough to make a serious dent in two key areas: restoring cuts to public schools and closing an expected $1.7 billion budget gap in 2015-16.

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