More Evidence that Expanding Health Care Is Good for PA's Economy and Budget

I know, we're starting to sound like a broken record here, but two new studies once again demonstrate that Pennsylvania’s economy and state budget will get a big boost if the commonwealth accepts federal funding allocated to expand Medicaid health coverage.

Third and State This Week: Corporate Tax Cuts Without Closing Loopholes, Challenges Face Poor College Students

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how a corporate tax cut bill in the state House will come at the expense of schools and health care in Pennsylvania, the challenges facing low-income students attending college, and an honor bestowed on one of our own for his workforce development work.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and tax policy, Sharon Ward shared how state House lawmakers voted on an amendment that would have taken steps to close the Delaware loophole. She also shared a podcast from a media briefing on a House bill enacting hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts over the course of a decade. And Chris Lilienthal had more on the tax cuts, which will come at the expense of investments in schools, infrastructure and local services.
  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher wrote that too many low-income students who pursue college are sidetracked by economic and other challenges — in some cases, leaving them with big debts but no degree.
  • On workforce development, Steve Herzenberg blogged about receiving the Workforce Professional of the Year award from the Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania and what he took away from hearing awards dinner keynote speaker Steve Forbes.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) released an analysis of House Bill 440, legislation that advances the Governor's corporate tax cut plan at the expense of investments that really matter in our schools and communities.
  • The Keystone Research Center (KRC) released a summary of testimony on the negative social impacts of retail liquor privatization delivered at a roundtable discussion this week hosted by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join Steve Herzenberg and Senate staffer John Raymond on Tuesday, April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.

Why Some Poor Students Aren't Graduating College

Despite being heralded as a great equalizer, education can widen the socioeconomic gap between affluent and poor college students. Previously, I blogged about the trend of top-achieving low-income high school students not applying to top American colleges and universities. But what happens to students from poor neighborhoods who do go onto college?

Did Your Representative Vote to Close the Delaware Loophole?

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives had a choice Wednesday to take REAL steps to close the Delaware loophole or to give a pass to profitable corporations that have sheltered millions of dollars in Delaware, Nevada and other states.

Guess what they did? See how your representative voted on an amendment that would — finally — take steps to end this corporate tax avoidance practice once and for all.

Podcast: Corporate Tax Cut Bill Moves in Pa. House

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is moving forward with Governor Tom Corbett's plan to enact hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts over the course of a decade that will come at the expense of investments in schools, infrastructure and local services. Listen to my media briefing this morning to get the latest and what it means for the commonwealth and its citizens. 

PA House Moving Governor's Costly Corporate Tax Cut Plan

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the Governor's plan to enact hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts that come at the expense of investments in schools, colleges, human services, adult literacy and other critical areas.

Second Prize ... Two Evenings with Steve Forbes

The Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania (MASCPA), headquartered in York, has been led for a decade by Mike Smeltzer, a Tea Party Republican ... who is also a good friend and partner on workforce development issues.

When Mike ran in a Republican Congressional primary in 2010, I offered to emulate suburban Philadelphia Republicans — the "Rendellicans" — who supported Governor Rendell by organizing the "Smelocrats." For some reason, Mike didn't take me up on this offer.

Third and State This Week: A Call to Close Loopholes on Tax Day, Pensions and Latest PA Job Numbers

This week at Third and State, we marked Tax Day by blogging about where our tax dollars go and why Pennsylvania should close corporate tax loopholes. We also wrote about our analysis of the Governor's corporate tax cut plan, our latest Pension Primer, and the Pennsylvania job numbers for March. Plus, a radio podcast on the state of the American economy that featured Mark Price.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On Tax Day, Chris Lilienthal highlighted infographics and other resources showing you where your state and federal tax dollars go. Sharon Ward shared her Harrisburg Patriot-News op-ed calling on state lawmakers to close loopholes and get Pennsylvania's fiscal house in order before considering new tax cuts. Finally, Kate Atkins shared photos from a Tax Day event in Harrisburg where volunteers made a call to close loopholes.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote about Governor Corbett's plan to cut corporate tax rates by 30% over a decade. Noticeably absent from the plan is any effort to close corporate tax loopholes that have drained resources from schools, universities, and county human services.
  • On pensions, Stephen Herzenberg blogged that Governor Corbett's pension plan has a serious case of pension deficit disorder — if enacted, it will increase the state's pension debt by $5 billion between now and 2019..
  • On jobs and unemployment, Chris Lilienthal passed on a news report on the March job numbers for Pennsylvania. Mark Price shared a podcast of a Minnesota Public Radio show where he and journalist Heidi Moore discussed jobs and the state of the American economy.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Keystone Research Center released the fourth installment in its Pension Primer series this week. You can read all the Pension Primers and Stephen Herzenberg's testimony before the Pennsylvania State House Government Committee at KRC's Pensions Issue Page.
  • Read the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's full analysis of the Governor's proposal to enact costly new business tax cuts in the years ahead.
  • Read PBPC's statement opposing House legislation that creates tax breaks to subsidize new markets for natural gas producers at the expense of schools and other priorities.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join Steve Herzenberg of the Keystone Research Center on April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

  • Learn more about the federal opportunity to expand health coverage in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Medicaid Expansion Resource Page.
  • Learn more about education in Pennsylvania at PBPC's Education Facts Page with data on student enrollment, education funding, and school poverty.

PA Unemployment Rate Drops as Thousands Drop Out of Labor Force

Pennsylvania's unemployment fell by two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.1% in February to 7.9% in March, according to new data out this afternoon. As Ann Belser at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, much of the decline was due to workers dropping out of the labor force:

The declining unemployment rate was more from people dropping out of the labor force than from unemployed residents finding jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that while the number of unemployed people fell in the state by 45,600 people, the number of people working only rose by 14,600, which means that 31,000 people dropped out of the state's labor force.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate, at 7.9%, remained above the national jobless rate of 7.6% in March.

Governor's Pension Plan Has Serious Case of 'Pension Deficit Disorder'

Governor Tom Corbett's plan to radically restructure public pensions will increase Pennsylvania's pension debt by nearly $5 billion between now and 2019. How does it worsen Pennsylvania's public pension debt? By lowering state and school district contributions to pensions during that time period.

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