Third and State This Week: A Brighter Revenue Picture, Impact of Corporate Tax Cuts and Payday Lending

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new revenue report from the Independent Fiscal Office offering a more upbeat view of the economy moving forward, and the likely impact of a state House-approved bill to reduce corporate taxes by nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade. We also posted Morning Must Reads on payday lending legislation and the economic cost of an asset test for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward blogged about the Independent Fiscal Office's new report predicting a smaller revenue shortfall for the current year and more robust revenue collections for 2012-13. Mark Price also had analysis on the new revenue report, noting that state budget cuts have hurt job growth.
  • On tax policy, Chris Lilienthal wrote about the House's approval of a plan to reduce corporate taxes by nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade without any commitment from businesses to put Pennsylvanians back to work. Sharon Ward shared her Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed on this bill and a memo she sent to editors and reporters outlining her concerns with the bill.
  • Finally, Mark Price had Morning Must Reads on legislation in the state House to legalize payday loans charging upwards of 300% in annual percentage rates, and the lost economic activity from implementing an asset test for people receiving food stamps.

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

Good News on Revenue But Don’t Count Your Blessings Just Yet

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released its revenue estimate this week, offering a more upbeat view of the economy moving forward. The official revenue estimate predicts a smaller revenue shortfall for the current year and more robust revenue collections for 2012-13.

PA House Approves Major Corporate Tax Cut Bill

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday that would enact nearly $1 billion in corporate tax cuts by the end of the decade. If signed into law, this bill will weaken Pennsylvania's economy and result in a long-term erosion to the quality of our schools, colleges, health care and human services for the commonwealth's children and families.

Morning Must Reads: Tax Collection Forecast Improves, Philadelphia Got Schools? & Voter ID

In the fall, Pennsylvania's economy looked a bit shaky. Unemployment was rising and leading indexes which predict future growth were signaling weak growth.

Today, the outlook is stronger: unemployment is falling, albeit slowly, and leading indexes (PDF) point to stronger growth over the next six months. Thus, it is no surprise that the Independent Fiscal Office has boosted its forecast for state tax revenue collections.

Take a Responsible Approach to Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

As I noted yesterday, the Pennsylvania House is scheduled to debate legislation today that would take a modest step toward closing tax loopholes while making business tax reductions that would cost nearly $1 billion by the end of the decade.

Today I outlined our concerns with House Bill 2150 in an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Morning Must Reads: Happy May Day, SNAP Asset Test to Cost PA $45 Million & Deaths from Falls

Happy International Workers Day! What's that, you ask? Historian Jacob Remes breaks it down for you.

PA House Bill Won't Close Tax Loopholes

I wanted to share a memo I sent to editors and reporters today outlining some concerns about legislation that is expected to come before the Pennsylvania House this week. Here is an excerpt from the memo:

Morning Must Reads: $250 Payday Loans With $2000 in Fees/Interest & Food Stamp Asset Test

The state legislature is back today, and this Thursday at 9 a.m. the House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to discuss state Representative Chris Ross's bill to legalize payday loans charging upwards of 300% in annual percentage rates (APR).

This Week at Third and State: Corporate Tax Cuts, Payday Lending, More on Inequality and Food Stamp Challenge

This week at Third and State, we blogged about state legislation that would cut corporate taxes by close to a billion dollars by the end of the decade, what inequality has to do with the funding of infrastructure, the Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge, payday lenders eyeing a return to Pennsylvania, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward highlighted concerns about a state House bill that would cut corporate taxes by close to a billion dollars by the end of the decade.
  • On income inequality, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a recent op-ed connecting inequality with an underfunding of the nation's infrastructure. In Morning Must Reads on inequality, Mark Price shared a New York Times analysis on increasing income inequality in America and an editorial on the "festering problem" of exorbitant CEO pay.
  • On poverty and food assistance, Chris Lilienthal blogged about the Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge going on this week and the importance of food assistance to Pennsylvania families struggling in this economy.
  • On the financial industry, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news coverage of an effort by payday lenders to advance legislation in Pennsylvania allowing interest rates on short-term loans as high as 419%.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read on rising mortgage foreclosures and an effort to provide better disclosure of fees for 401K plans.

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

Enough to Eat?

As Mark Price blogged earlier this week, several Philadelphia area politicians are participating in a weeklong challenge to live on $5 a day worth of food. The protest has been prompted by the state's decision to cut off food stamps for people under 60 with more than $5,500 in cash or certain other assets; for those 60 and older, the threshold will be $9,000.

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