Can the Right Afford to Acknowledge Low Upward Mobility in the U.S.?

Michael Laracy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation emailed around an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria on the boffo new study on upward mobility in the United States. The Zakaria piece appeared in the Amazon, I mean Bezos, I mean Washington Post.

Third and State This Week: Health Law Saves Consumers, Upward Social Mobility, & More on State Revenue Outlook

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that ensures health insurance companies spend most premium dollars on direct medical care, shared an op-ed on what works when it come to upward social mobility, and provided more analysis on the state's revenue outlook for 2013-14.


  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a key reform in the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% to 85% of premium dollars on direct medical care or issue rebates to consumers.
  • On jobs and wages, Stephen Herzenberg shared his op-ed on a new report providing the most detailed information yet on what works — and what doesn’t — when it comes to keeping the American Dream alive.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood filed two blog posts about the official state revenue estimates for 2013-14 --  the first looking at why corporate tax collections are projected to decline, and the second examining what's expected with personal income and sales tax collections.


In recent weeks, the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center have released the following publications:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center published an analysis of the 2013-14 General Fund official revenue estimates, a briefing paper on how Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale impact fee comes up well short of natural gas severance taxes in Texas and West Virginia, and a press release on the pending cut to federal nutrition assistance.
  • The Keystone Research Center published a briefing paper and press release about a new landmark study showing that Pennsylvania enjoys substantially more upward mobility than many other parts of the United States.


The staff and research of the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center were featured in the following news reports and radio interviews in recent weeks:

Pennsylvania: State of Opportunity?

I wanted to share my op-ed today on a new report offering Pennsylvania some optimism when it comes to upward social mobility but also serving as a warning for lawmakers on the policies they pursue.

State Predicts Increase in Sales, Income Tax Collections

As I previously blogged here and here, Pennsylvania General Fund revenue collections are projected to grow very little in the 2013-14 fiscal year. Tax revenue is on track for the smallest rate of growth since 2009-10. Corporate tax collections will actually decline due largely to tax cuts, including another reduction in the capital stock and franchise tax rate.

To round out my trio of posts on the revenue outlook in the new budget, here is a look at personal income and sales tax collections over the next year — plus a few other notables in the official estimates from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. You can get my full analysis of the 2013-14 revenue projections here.

Health Law Saves Consumers by Requiring Insurers to Spend Premium Dollars on Medical Care

Posted in:

Medical Loss Ratio ExplainedA key reform in the Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to spend 80% to 85% of premium dollars directly on medical care or quality improvement expenses as opposed to other administrative costs, marketing, or profits. If an insurer does not meet the standard, it must provide rebates to consumers or businesses.

Sales, Income Taxes to Rise; Corporate Taxes Not So Much

As I blogged last week, state budget forecasters are not predicting much growth in revenue collections over the 2013-14 fiscal year. In fact, tax revenue is projected to have the smallest rate of growth since the 2009-10 fiscal year, according to official estimates from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Third and State This Week: Nutrition Assistance Cuts, Fast Food Worker Strikes, Modest State Revenue Growth & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a pending cut and other threats to federal nutrition assistance, what the one-day strikes by fast food workers tell us about the future of the middle class, a post-recession pay cut for the nation's low-wage workers, state revenue growth in the year ahead, and the role of public safety net programs in keeping people out of poverty.


  • On food insecurity, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a report on the significant impact that a pending cut in nutrition assistance will have on low-income families across Pennsylvania and the nation. He also shared a New York Times report on a new study finding that additional cuts proposed by the U.S. House would cost more than 5 million Americans needed food assistance.
  • On unions and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the fast food workers engaging in one-day strikes across the country may be on the verge of cracking the code to the next U.S. middle class.
  • On income inequality, intern Ellis Wazeter blogged about a recent study showing that low-wage American workers have taken a post-recession hit to their paychecks.
  • On state taxes, Michael Wood shared a chart showing that General Fund revenue collections are projected to grow very little in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  • And on poverty, Chris Lilienthal passed on a blog post by Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlighting just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.


Nearly 1.8 Million in PA Will See Food Assistance Cut

SNAP helps nearly 1 in 3 U.S. children get enough to eat. All of them will see their benefits cut in November.Nutrition assistance is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger and a powerful tool to help keep families out of poverty. Come November, this critical federal assistance will be cut, making it that much more difficult for 1.8 million Pennsylvanians to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

PA Projects Modest Growth in Tax Collections

The budget bills are finally passed, and all the numbers have been crunched. So where does the state expect General Fund revenue collections to be at the end of the next fiscal year? Not too far from where they are today.

'This Is What the Middle Class Looks Like' ... Fast Food One-day Strikes and the Next Upsurge in Unionism

"This is what democracy looks like." Even though this chant originated with the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO), which haven't yet led to major reforms, the phrase nonetheless captures the idea of a social movement that has crystallized its demands and has a better chance to succeed because of it. Other examples include the right to vote in the civil rights movement, or the fight to legalize gay marriage, a simple modern demand that culminates a fight for equality in all its dimensions.

Syndicate content