New Data: Job Growth In Marcellus Shale Slows Again In Last Quarter of 2012

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data Thursday from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for the fourth quarter of 2012 -- which means we can expect shortly a new version of Marcellus Fast Facts from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. While we wait for that new release, here is a quick preview of what the new data say.

6/27/13: Update on Pennsylvania Budget

While no General Fund spending plan emerged from the state Senate today, there was modestly good news on higher education funding.

PA Shouldn't Miss a Real Opportunity to Close Loopholes

In the coming days, the Pennsylvania Legislature will be hammering out a deal to balance the 2013-14 state budget. One piece of the package will be a budget-related tax plan that may include a provision designed to close corporate tax loopholes.

Specifically, lawmakers are discussing the creation of a so-called "addback" rule. Such rules require corporations to add back interest and intangible expenses (such as for copyrights and patents) paid to related companies — often affiliates in Delaware or Nevada where the income is not taxed.

Retirement Gamble: The Problem with 401(k) Plans

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Just how good are 401(k) retirement plans? According to a number of recent news and magazine articles, they are a bad deal for workers, providing much less retirement security than traditional pooled defined benefit pension plans. Pension plans tend to beat 401(k)s on investment returns while 401(k)s come with higher fees. For these reasons and one other (401(k)'s don't pool longevity risk--don't ask), 401(k)s cost a lot more in contributions to achieve to achieve the same level of retirement security.

New Poll: School Funding Top Concern for Pennsylvanians

Public school funding is a top concern among Pennsylvania voters, according to a new poll that comes as state lawmakers are debating a budget locking in nearly 85% of the classroom cuts enacted two years ago.

May's Job Picture Is Mixed In Pennsylvania

Unemployment in Pennsylvania fell by one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.5% in May, while non-farm payrolls fell by 9,200, according to a Friday report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Data from the household survey painted an unambiguously positive picture for May: the labor force increased by 16,000, employment grew by just over 24,000, and the number of unemployed declined by 9,000.

Third and State This Week: School Funding Cuts, Medicaid Expansion Good for Veterans & Drilling Fee Fails to Keep Up

This week at Third and State, we set the record straight about state education funding cuts and how Pennsylvania's drilling impact fee is failing to keep pace with growth in natural gas production. We also wrote about growing momentum to delay a corporate tax cut and the tens of thousands of uninsured veterans who would benefit from expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On education, Chris Lilienthal blogged that nearly 85% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in the past two years remain intact in the state budget plan before the Legislature.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about news the state Senate plans to vote next week on expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for uninsured veterans.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Michael Wood blogged about a new report showing that a modest natural gas severance tax would raise twice as much revenue as Pennsylvania's local impact fee and do a better job keeping up with expected growth in natural gas production.
  • And on state budget and taxes, we highlighted recent news stories showing that momentum is building in Harrisburg to delay a tax cut for corporations next year in order to restore funding to public schools and other budget priorities.

IN OTHER NEWS:

PA Senate to Vote on Medicaid Expansion

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that the state Senate plans to vote next week on a federal opportunity to expand Medicaid health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Pa. House Budget Locks in Most of the School Funding Cuts

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out with a new policy brief setting the record straight on some recent claims made about state education funding in the commonwealth.

Education funding was a hot topic last week when the state House debated a 2013-14 budget bill — a plan that locks in nearly 85% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in 2011-12.

Momentum Builds for Delaying Corporate Tax Cut

Senator Jake CormanMomentum is building in Harrisburg to delay a tax cut for profitable corporations next year in order to restore funding to public schools and other priorities in the 2013-14 budget.

Senator Jake Corman, a Republican who chairs the chamber's Appropriations Committee, is the latest lawmaker to say he would consider freezing the capital stock and franchise tax at the 2012 rate, which would raise $360 million.

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