Add Your Voice to Those Opposing Payday Lending in PA

A bill to legalize high-interest payday loans in Pennsylvania stalled this week after a bipartisan group of state senators took a look at the plan and said no way. The Harrisburg Patriot-News was on top of the story:

Paying the Boss to Work

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering legislation that would allow many Pennsylvania employers to pocket the state income taxes paid by new employees. The plan, House Bill 2626, could come up for a vote in the House Monday.

While billed as an economic development strategy, the bill provides a multi-year subsidy for existing companies to do what they do anyway: fill vacant positions. It is costly and will lead to more cuts to schools and services for children, seniors and people with disabilities.

Morning Must Reads: How 'bout No, You Crazy Dutch....

The Only Proper Villian We Could Find From the NetherlandsOn Monday night, the Lower Allen Township commissioners in Cumberland County considered a proposal from Ahold USA, the corporate parent of Giant Food Stores, for a $400,000 property tax abatement on a meat repackaging plant on which the company has already broken ground. (Ahold USA is itself the subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Ahold.)

The company has neglected a basic principle of the economic development game through which companies extract subsidies and tax breaks from states and localities where they were going to build anyway: until you have the subsidy in hand, don't give away that it will not impact your location decision.

News Flash! Marcellus Shale Coalition Takes on Pennsylvania Charities

Thanks to Citizens United, we are all the beneficiaries of unlimited corporate money in our elections — witness the onslaught of TV ads interrupting our ballgames and the fall lineup of TV shows.

In a new twist, the very groups that agitated to spend unlimited funds to promote their point of view are now critical of others who challenge them. What brings this to mind is an Associated Press story this morning that the Marcellus Shale Coalition is not happy about the funding priorities of the Heinz Endowments and William Penn Foundation.

Morning Must Reads: Never Before Has So Much Stupid Led to So Much Learning!

At 7.8% in September, the U.S. unemployment rate was below 8% for the first time since January 2009. Five minutes after the new numbers were released, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch suggested the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had juked the stats.

Third and State This Week: Court Halts Voter ID Law, Changing the Subject on Payday Lending and Paying the Boss to Work

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election, an effort to change the subject on payday lending, a report on rising student debt, a lawsuit against the state to restore General Assistance and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, we highlighted a statement from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) on a Commonwealth Court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election. Chris Lilienthal also highlighted MSNBC's coverage of PBPC's recent report on the state's flawed implementation of the Voter ID Law.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a recent state Senate hearing on the subject and why changing the subject doesn't make high-interest payday lending any better an idea in Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pew Research Center report on the growing burden of student debt especially among the lowest-income students.
  • On jobs, Mark Price explained how the story of a Bucks County manufacturer who is finding it difficult to recruit workers made him think of a joke about parrots and economists. He also broke down the employment picture in Allentown.
  • On state tax policy, we shared a video from Reuters exploring the problems with programs that allow certain businesses to keep the income taxes paid by employees. The Pennsylvania House is considering a similar program.
  • On public welfare, Mark Price blogged about a lawsuit aimed at restoring Pennsylvania's General Assistance program.

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

Reuters Video: Is Your Boss Pocketing Your State Income Taxes?

In a letter to state lawmakers this week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center highlighted several concerns with a proposed tax credit program that would allow certain qualifying businesses to keep the income taxes paid by their employees. Paying the boss to work? It could get a vote in the state House when the Legislature returns to session the week of October 15.

Believe it or not, this is not a new idea. A number of states have similar programs. Good Jobs First calls it "job blackmail." David Cay Johnston of Reuters explains it all in this great (and short) video. Watch it.

The Young and Poor Have Most Student Debt

College student debt has a reached an all time, according to an Associated Press article last week on a Pew Research Center report. The new research shows a lack of jobs for recent graduates and rising tuition costs are contributing to the record high student debt. 

One interesting aspect of the report: the two groups most affected by high debt are the most well-off and the least well-off:

Changing the Subject Doesn’t Make Payday Lending a Better Idea

In legislative hearings last month, proponents of a bill to legalize high-interest payday loans tried to change the subject and questioned the motives of some of their constituents. But these attempts don’t alter the fact that allowing payday lending is a bad idea. 

Late-Morning Must Reads: Well We're Living Here in Allentown So Call Me Maybe

Since I attended the 82nd annual Gridiron show last night, I'm both in a good mood and have the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association's version of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe (<--not them) in my head this morning. 

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