Third and State This Week: Taking Full Advantage of Health Reform, Poverty the Forgotten Issue & Tax Giveaways in PA

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the benefits of expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania, the absence of poverty in the national political debate, a state tax giveaway for a company whose CEO owns a Hawaiian island, and the latest on state revenue collections.


  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged that with the election decided it is clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. The question now is will some states squander an opportunity the law presents to cover millions of uninsured Americans.
  • On poverty, Jamar Thrasher highlighted an op-ed observing that poverty is one issue that has been conspicuously absent from the debate in the now completed elections.
  • On state taxes, Jamar Thrasher wrote that tax giveaways should not be handed out to companies whose CEOs are doing well enough to afford to buy a Hawaiian island.
  • And Michael Wood penned an update on Pennsylvania state revenue collections one-third the way through the 2012-13 fiscal year.

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

Will Pennsylvania Take Full Advantage of Health Reform?

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With the election decided, it is now clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. That’s great news for Pennsylvanians, some of whom have already begun to benefit from the health reform law, and many others who will see more gains as major provisions take effect in 2014.

Pennsylvania Tax Giveaways and an Island in the Sun

A few weeks ago, the Pennsylvania General Assembly fast-tracked a bill in the waning days of the legislative session to allow certain private companies to keep most of the state income taxes of new employees. News reports to follow indicated the new tax giveaway was designed to lure California-based software firm Oracle to State College.

Afternoon Must Read: Poverty the Forgotten Campaign Issue

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There has been no shortage of issues to discuss in the 2012 presidential campaign, but one issue that is conspicuously absent from the debate is poverty. Some advocates, including Rev. Sandra Strauss of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches (who serves on the Keystone Research Center's board), decided to make it a campaign issue. Check out her op-ed in today's Patriot-News.

So Far, So Good, But Keep Your Eyes on Corporate, Sales Tax Collections

Four months into the 2012-13 fiscal year, Pennsylvania’s General Fund tax collections are more than $400 million ahead of receipts at this point last year and outpacing Corbett administration year-to-date estimates.

Tax collections rebounded in September and October after missing the mark in the first two months of the fiscal year. To date, tax collections are $65 million, or 0.8%, higher than estimate, and $435 million, or 5.7%, ahead of tax collections this time last year. Both are good signs that the state’s revenues are on track, so far.

Third and State This Week: The October No Surprise, Sizing Up Service Cuts, and Small Biz Owners Say End Top Tax Cuts

This week at Third and State, we blogged about U.S. job growth in October and what it means, how human service cuts are impacting the lives of Pennsylvanians, a poll showing a majority of small business owners support ending tax cuts for top earners, and more.


  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about today's jobs report from the federal government signaling U.S. employment growth is back on track. Mark also delved further into the recent claim of a state official that the Marcellus Shale industry is bringing a "tsunami of jobs" to Pennsylvania.
  • On the state budget, Kate Atkins recapped a recent forum in Montgomery County where speakers testified to the importance of investing in prevention and community supports for people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse.
  • On federal budget and taxes, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new poll finding that a majority of small business owners support ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners. We also previewed a forum at Dickinson College in Carlisle next week featuring economist Dean Baker talking about the federal fiscal cliff.
  • And on voter ID, Jamar Thrasher wrote about advocates' concerns that ads in Pennsylvania are providing misleading information about voter ID in the upcoming election.

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

The October No Surprise

U.S. employment in October grew by 171,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 7.8 to 7.9%, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report out today.

Compared to the second quarter of 2012 when employment increased by just 66,000 jobs a month, October's job numbers are good news.

The Fiscal Cliff: New Heights of Sensationalism

Dean BakerIn recent months, the media have frequently raised the specter of the federal government falling off the "fiscal cliff."

Next Wednesday evening, economist Dean Baker will take on the "fiscal cliff" in a talk at Dickinson College in Carlisle. If you plan to be in the Harrisburg-Carlisle area, come out and hear Dean explain why much of the discussion about "falling off the fiscal cliff" fundamentally misrepresents both the short- and long-term budget challenges we face as a nation.

Small Biz Owners Support Ending Top Tax Cuts, Poll Finds

A majority of small business owners agree that ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners is the right course for the nation, according to a new poll from the Small Business Majority.

The poll reflects a pragmatic spirit among small business owners, with nearly 6 in 10 saying that government can play a productive role in helping small businesses thrive. 

Morning Must Reads: Misleading Voter ID Ads in PA

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Pennsylvania continues to run advertisements with misleading information about voter ID in the upcoming election, advocates tell Mother Jones Magazine this week. (Thanks to Pittsburgh political rapper Jasiri X for sharing the article.)

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