Video: What the Affordable Care Act Means for PA

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Advocates and health care providers gathered at the State Capitol this week to explain how Pennsylvanians who are working but lack health insurance will be able to shop for and compare options for affordable coverage on a new competitive Health Insurance Marketplace established by the federal health care law.

State General Fund Collections on Target Through First Quarter of 2013-14

General Fund collections in September exceeded revenue targets by $15 million, creating a very modest fiscal-year-to-date surplus of $13 million, 0.2% over estimate.

Collections in September are important to monitor as it is the first month of the fiscal year in which significant collections of quarterly personal income and corporate net income taxes are made. So far, so good, as corporate taxes came in $8 million below estimate for the month, while personal income tax collections exceeded estimate by $8 million.

PA House Votes on Property Tax Bills with Important Implications for School Funding

The Pennsylvania House voted on legislation this week that has important implications for public school funding.

'How LIfe Changing This Will Be for People Who Thought They Would Die Without Health Insurance'

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Susan Mull, a substitute teacher from LancasterSusan Mull of Lancaster County joined health care advocates and providers Monday to preview the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace — the latest provision of the Affordable Care Act to take effect.

Employment in Shale-related Industries Fell in Most Recent Year

I will be on the Pennsylvania Cable Network Call-In Program Tuesday discussing the latest on the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on Pennsylvania's economy. So you can bet that I will be talking about new data giving us our first detailed glimpse of Marcellus Shale-related employment trends in Pennsylvania.

Property Tax Elimination Bill Threatens Long-term Public School Funding

Property tax elimination proposals have been getting a lot of attention this week, so we took a closer look at two of the most talked-about — House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76. Both plans pose a serious threat to stable, predictable education funding in Pennsylvania.

School Funding Should Be Harrisburg's Top Fall Priority

On Monday, parents, school board members, and citizens from across Pennsylvania came to Harrisburg to fight for more school funding and a fair distribution of those funds.

Today, a small group of anti-property tax activists converged on the Capitol steps and, if unchecked, threaten to derail our efforts.

Property Tax Shift Bills on Their Way to House Floor for Consideration This Week

On the first day of the new legislative session and at the same time a number of education groups were rallying in the Capitol Rotunda for more adequate state school funding, the House Finance Committee forwarded a series of bills to the House floor that would allow local school districts to shift who pays the local share for schools. With this action, these bills could be voted on by the full House as early as this week.

High Road Restaurant Owners Speak Out for Higher Minimum Wage

A few weeks ago, we responded to criticism about the feasibility of a $15-per-hour wage for fast food workers. In that post, we highlighted two "high road" employers, one a fast-food chain, as living examples of the feasibility — and profitability — of paying workers better.

Third and State Recap: Census Data on Health Insurance, Income Gaps Widening, Governor's Medicaid Plan, and More

Note: Third and State's In-Case-You-Missed-It Wrap Up is now published every two weeks.

Over the past two weeks, we blogged about the Governor's Medicaid plan, new U.S. Census data on health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, new figures on growing income inequality in the U.S., what a fast-food worker raise really costs, how Pennsylvania's job growth is measuring up, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On health care, Sharon Ward blogged that U.S. Census data out this week show that Pennsylvania's health insurance coverage rates are still below pre-recession levels — a reminder that Pennsylvania needs an expansion of Medicaid now more than ever. Chris Lilienthal provided an initial take of Governor Corbett's "Healthy PA" Medicaid plan and set the record straight about the cost of the state's existing Medicaid program. He also shared a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial saying that Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania cannot wait and must happen in 2014.
  • On income inequality, Stephen Herzenberg shared an analysis putting the latest figures on U.S. income in historical perspective and argued that a 35-year trend of "growing apart" cannot become the new normal. Chris Lilienthal shared a Philadelphia Daily News story highlighting new data showing a shocking rise in income inequality since 2009.
  • On wages, Steve Herzenberg cited analysis showing that increasing the wages of fast food workers to $15 per hour would likely add only about 20 cents to the $4 cost of a Big Mac.
  • On job growth, Mark Price blogged about how job growth in Pennsylvania has measured up in the economic recovery. Mark also took the state secretary of Labor and Industry to task for citing selective statistics in a letter to the Patriot-News to claim that the Pennsylvania economy is “strong.”
  • And on public benefits, Chris Lilienthal shared a letter to the editor explaining how public benefits encourage low-income people to go to work and keep at it.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recently redesigned its web site with a new look and easier navigation so that you can find everything you need right at your fingertips.
  • Read the Keystone Research Center's new policy brief, Nickel and Dimed: The Falling Purchasing Power of the Tipped Minimum Wage, and a press release on it.
  • Read PBPC Director Sharon Ward's September 9 testimony before the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee on the impact of state cuts to school funding and how best to address property tax reform.
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