Six-State Study Finds Industry Supporters Exaggerated Jobs Impact of Shale Drilling

Drilling in the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations has produced far fewer new jobs than the industry and its supporters claim. In fact, in Pennsylvania, shale-related employment accounted for less than half a percent of total nonfarm employment in 2012 (as the figure to the right shows).

Join Friday Webinar on Property Tax Plans that Work

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Some states have developed effective policies to address the challenges faced by some seniors and working families in paying their property taxes. What can Pennsylvania learn from them?

Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center this Friday at Noon for a webinar that will take a closer look at proven strategies to provide property tax relief to those who most need it — while protecting critical investments in public education.

An 'Early Success Story' of the Affordable Care Act But Not in PA

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The expansion of Medicaid health coverage is being called an “early success story” of the Affordable Care Act — but you won’t find any success stories here in Pennsylvania.

Setting the Record Straight about PA School Funding Cuts

I wrote a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News and setting the record straight about funding cuts to Pennsylvania schools in recent years. Take a look:

Research is clear that student performance improves with smaller class sizes, rigorous programs, and qualified teachers. Yet since 2011 Pennsylvania has done the opposite, enacting cuts that have increased class sizes, eliminated enrichment programs, and taken tens of thousands of teachers, guidance counselors, and aides out of the classroom.

In Case You Missed It: Tax Cuts Slow Revenue Growth, 'Bad Deal' Deregulation Bill, SNAP Cut, Transportation & More

In recent weeks, we blogged about how business tax cuts have dragged down revenue growth this year and will continue to do so in future budgets. We also wrote about the dangers of a Pennsylvania telephone deregulation bill, the impact of a cut to federal food assistance, how the 50 states stack up when it comes to employer-sponsored health insurance, transportation funding, Marcellus Shale-related employment, and more.


  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood wrote in the latest revenue tracker that General Fund collections are not keeping pace with the slowly growing economy, and much of this can be traced to corporate tax cuts. He also wrote about the Independent Fiscal Office's budget outlook predicting slow revenue growth in the next five years, another product of business tax cuts.
  • On utilities and regulation, Steve Herzenberg blogged about a new Keystone Research Center report finding that a telephone deregulation bill in the state House will hurt rural broadband access and increase phone rates for consumers.
  • On the federal nutrition assistance, Chris Lilienthal shared an interactive map of Pennsylvania showing that a $183 million cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will impact families and children in every county.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal shared an interactive map of the United States showing how the 50 states stack up when it comes to employer-sponsored health insurance. With the nation’s employer-based health insurance system fraying rapidly in the past decade, the findings highlight just how important the Affordable Care Act is to many Americans.
  • On transportation funding, Sharon Ward highlighted her testimony before a House committee on how Pennsylvania could significantly increase its long-term investment in roads, bridges, and public transit with a mix of cash and debt financing.
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price shared an article setting the record straight about drilling-related employment claims made by Governor Tom Corbett's re-election campaign.
  • Finally, we shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's latest webinar on the Governor's Healthy PA plan, Medicaid expansion, and the Health Insurance Marketplace.






Business Tax Cuts Slow PA Revenue Growth Creating Future Budget Gaps

The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released its five-year economic and budget outlook on Thursday, and the picture is not pretty.

PA Deregulation Bill Will Hurt Rural Broadband Access and Increase Phone Rates

There has been a wave of deregulation bills introduced in statehouses across the country in recent years, and the latest in Pennsylvania is targeting landline telephone service. The plan could end up limiting access to broadband service in rural parts of the commonwealth and sharply increasing telephone rates.

Fund PA Transportation Projects with Mix of Cash and Debt Financing

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center put out the following press release Tuesday on testimony I delivered to the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee on transportation funding:

Pennsylvania could significantly increase its long-term investment in roads, bridges, and public transit with a mix of cash and debt financing, testified Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, before a state House committee today.

Corporate Tax Cuts Slowing Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth

The good news first: October General Fund collections exceeded the monthly estimate by $29 million, or 1.4%. For the fiscal year-to-date, the General Fund has a modest revenue surplus of $42 million, or 0.5%.

Much of October's surplus, $20 million of the $29 million, came from corporate tax collections, which fell slightly short of revenue targets in the previous month. Personal income and sales tax receipts also met October targets.

Morning Must Read: Setting the Record Straight on Employment in Fracking

The official launch last week of Governor Tom Corbett's re-election campaign has generated another round of stories on employment generated by fracking in the Marcellus Shale.

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