Watch Webinar to Untangle PA's Pension Reform Debate

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Everywhere you turn, you hear about the public pension debate unfolding in Pennsylvania, but what is it all about? How did we get where we are? What are the proposals under discussion in Harrisburg and how do you interpret them? In this webinar, hosted by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on April 30, pension experts broke it all down, explaining what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate.

IFO Projects $500 Million Less Revenue in Next Budget

Pennsylvania General Fund revenue collections came in $32 million above projections for April, putting the fiscal year-to-date surplus at $67 million, a scant 0.3% over official budget estimates.

The same day April's revenue report came out the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released the first official look at future revenues since the Governor’s budget was released in February — and the news is not good.

PA Study Finds Nonprofits Aren't Getting Rich Off the Public Dollar

On April 16, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) quickly and quietly disposed of a study of the salaries of nonprofit and for-profit human service providers.

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.

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