Small Steps Toward Reform But Special Tax Breaks Remain

Among the final pieces of the 2013-14 budget package now before the Governor is a Tax Code bill that sets tax rates and makes permanent changes in tax law.

The bill, approved by the House and Senate last week, includes two very important provisions: 1) It maintains the capital stock and franchise tax, which was set to expire at the end of 2013, for two more years, and 2) For the first time, it takes steps to close the Delaware loophole — although not until 2015.

Payday Lenders Make Few Friends in PA Senate

Payday lenders convinced state House Republican leaders to slip a line into a Fiscal Code bill needed to implement aspects of the new state budget stating that it was the "intent" of House and Senate Republican leaders to pass legislation legalizing high-interest payday loans in Pennsylvania.

Third and State This Week: The PA Budget and Connecting the Dots Between Wage Growth and Unemployment

The week at Third and State, we blogged about the state budget, school funding, transportation funding, and the Medicaid expansion. Plus we shared a graphic connecting the dots between wage growth and unemployment.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about passage of the $28.375 billion spending plan for 2013-14, and Sharon Ward shared her recent PennLive.com op-ed on the opportunity — and obligation — the Pennsylvania Senate had to really close corporate tax loopholes with this budget.
  • On school funding, Sharon Ward wrote that the Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.
  • On transportation, Michael Wood wrote about dueling House and Senate bills to provide between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for transportation projects. Neither plan was passed before the Legislature left for its summer recess.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee's approval of legislation to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the full Senate vote on the bill, and how the House derailed the effort before adjourning for the summer.
  • And on wages, Mark Price shared a graphic from Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth.

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Connecting the Dots Between Unemployment and Wage Growth

Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project (and the Tell Tale Chart) has a new graphic illustrating the connection between unemployment and wage growth across the states (see Colin's summary of the data here).

House Derails Medicaid Expansion But the Fight Goes On

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The Pennsylvania House rejected an effort by Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) today to revive the Medicaid expansion before the Legislature breaks for its summer recess this week.

Senate Approved Medicaid Expansion But It Faces Hurdle in the House

The Pennsylvania Senate on Sunday approved legislation to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The plan faces its biggest hurdle yet today in the House, where leaders are promising not to bring it up for a vote.

Help us make Medicaid expansion a reality in Pennsylvania. Go here to email AND call your state Representative. When you call, give your name, address, and town and say: Please vote YES on Medicaid Expansion. Thank you.

Then call House Leader Mike Turzai and ask him to allow a vote on the floor. Dial 717-772-9943 and leave a message saying: I'm calling to ask that you allow the House to vote on Medicaid expansion.

As we have written often in recent months, Pennsylvania should take this federal opportunity to expand health coverage: it will create jobs, strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy, and make its citizens healthier and more financially stable.

Pa. Legislature Approves $28.375 Billion Budget

The Pennsylvania Senate voted 33-17 around 4 p.m. today to approve a $28.375 billion state budget. The House followed this evening with a party-line 111-92 vote to approve the budget, and the Governor signed it Sunday evening.

The budget adds $22.5 million in funding to the basic education subsidy line over the House proposal and $32.5 million over what Governor Corbett proposed in February. Funding for prisons is increased, and a 10% funding cut enacted last year to county human services remains.

Get a full overview here.

Related welfare, tax and school code bills may not get done until Monday or Tuesday.

Philadelphia School Funding Agreement Comes with Strings Attached

The Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the state Secretary of Education.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is expected to take up several bills today that provide some help to the school district, as it seeks to close a $304 million budget deficit and prevent the layoff of more than 3,800 teachers and staff. The budget could be finalized when the clock runs out at midnight tonight.

Pa. Senate Appropriations Approves $28.375 Billion Budget

The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 2013-14 state budget (amended into HB 1437) that spends $28.375 billion, roughly $645 million (or 2.3%) more than in the current fiscal year.

The bill only deals with appropriations in the budget. Other related issues, such as whether Pennsylvania opts into the expansion of Medicaid under the U.S. health reform law, or whether lawmakers will delay a planned a corporate tax cut next year, will be addressed in related bills that are still being negotiated.

Below are the highlights of the 2013-14 spending plan.

$2-$2.5 Billion in Funding for Transportation Being Negotiated with Budget

Dueling transportation funding plans from the Pennsylvania Senate and House are still being hashed out in the Capitol this weekend along with the budget.

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