Third and State This Week: Few in PA Get Top Tax Cuts, Single Bid for PA Lottery, Minimum Wage Boost & Latest on PA Jobs

Note: Third and State is taking a well-deserved break from December 23, 2012 through the end of the year. We will be back in action January 2, 2013. See you then.

This week at Third and State, we blogged about new analyses finding that few Pennsylvanians would benefit from extending tax cuts for high-income earners and that questions remain about the plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery. Plus, a look at the 10 states that will give minimum wage workers a raise in the New Year and the latest Pennsylvania jobs report.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On federal taxes, Sharon Ward shared a new analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center finding that President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg observed that "one is the loneliest number" especially when it comes to the number of bids received by the commonwealth to privatize the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Steve's post highlights the findings of a recent Keystone Research Center policy brief on the lottery plan.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price wrote that the decline in Pennsylvania's unemployment rate in November is a welcome change, but that the jobless rate remains unchanged from a year ago at 7.8%.
  • On wages, Jamar Thrasher blogged about 10 states (none of which are called Pennsylvania) that will increase their minimum wage rates in the New Year.
  • Finally, Chris Lilienthal shared charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities here and here providing some perspective in the debate over extending the Bush tax cuts.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center issued a statement saying that a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce/IHS report on Pennsylvania's energy future makes inflated claims about gas drilling's impact on job growth and tax revenue, while ignoring the costs that drilling imposes on citizens, the environment, and communities.

The Best Job Numbers Ever In November! I Swear!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported that the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania fell three-tenths of 1 percentage point to 7.8% and non-farm payrolls made a slight gain of 1,900 jobs in November.

A Minimum Wage Increase? It's Happened in Nearly 20 States.

Pennsylvania could learn a thing or two about how to breathe new life into its economy from 10 states preparing to give their lowest-wage workers a raise in the new year. 

Few in PA Would Be Affected by Ending High-income Tax Cuts

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out today with a new analysis finding that President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.

In over half of the state's 67 counties, fewer than 1 in 100 residents (that's 1%) would pay the higher marginal tax rate on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.

The Bush Tax Cuts in Charts, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared some charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing just how expensive the Bush tax cuts for high-income earners have been and will continue to be if policymakers extend them.

Today I wanted to highlight a few other charts from the Center to provide some more perspective in the debate over extending tax cuts for top earners and reducing the federal deficit.

The Bush Tax Cuts in Charts, Part 1

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorites tells many a budget story with pictures. Below are a few of the Center's best charts on the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President Bush, extended in 2010 under President Obama, and now set to expire in January.

One Is the Loneliest Number

Three Dog Night: OneOne is the loneliest number that you'll ever do …

Although I’m dating myself, some of you may recognize the Harry Nilsson song made famous by Three Dog Night. We recommend that Governor Tom Corbett download it to his iPod as he contemplates whether to accept a solitary bid from Camelot Global Services to take over the operation of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Whether privatizing state services or getting a new roof for your house, having a single lonely bidder is a red flag for a fleecing — for overpaying the contractor.

Third and State This Week: Americans Living on $2 a Day, Mayors Talk Federal Deficit and Youth Unemployment

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the increasing number of children and families living in extreme poverty, the latest on the state revenue picture, Pennsylvania mayors on a federal deficit deal and the long-term effects of youth unemployment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On poverty, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a report on the increasing number of children and families living in extreme poverty, defined as surviving on $2 or less per day.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a message from the mayors of Philadelphia, Allentown, York, and Reading to members of Congress as they craft a deficit reduction plan.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote about November state revenue collections and the threat new business tax cuts pose to the state's ability to invest in the fundamentals that ensure long-term growth.
  • And on jobs and unemployment, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a study showing the long-lasting damage a recession can have on young people unable to find their first job.

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

More Americans Scraping by on $2 a Day

study by the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center reports that more people are barely making ends meet in an era of too few jobs and a tattered safety net. According to the researchers, 1.4 million American households are living in "extreme poverty."

PA Budget in Fair Shape as Midyear Approaches But Business Tax Cuts Loom

Pennsylvania General Fund tax and other revenue collections are slightly ahead of official estimates through November. This is good news going into budget planning season for 2013-14. Unlike in many of the past few years, 2012-13 funding is less likely to be slashed to cover a midyear shortfall.

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