Daily Must Reads: Layoffs in the Public Sector, Jobs at the Cracker Plant and Liquor Privatization Pushed to Fall

The New York Times this morning takes a look at layoffs in the public sector across the country and what they mean for education, law enforcement, and overall unemployment. The story shines a light on recent public-sector layoffs here in Pennsylvania, with a little context provided by our own Mark Price.

Morning Must Reads: Higher Liquor Prices in Washington and a $100 Million June Revenue Surplus

As the debate over privatizing wine and spirit operations in Pennsylvania looms, The Patriot News takes a look at what privatization brought to Washington State — higher liquor prices. Voters approved the privatization of Washington’s state-run liquor stores effective June 1 (beer and wine is already for sale in private retail outlets in the state). The Patriot story is critical reading for Pennsylvania lawmakers considering privatization.

Daily Must Reads: Teacher Layoffs in Reading, Reining in Sales Tax Windfall and More on Payday Lending

While Mark Price takes some time off, I’ll be one of the Third and State bloggers filling in for him with Morning Must Reads. I know, it’s nearly 3:30 p.m., but better late than never.

To start things off, The Huffington Post has a look at what teacher layoffs in Reading mean for students in a city that is home to the largest share of residents living in poverty of any American city.

This Week at Third and State: PA Budget, Immigrant Small Business Owners and Public-Sector Job Losses

This week at Third and State, we blogged about mounting job losses among teachers and other public-sector workers, immigrants contributing to the state's economy as small business owners, House amendments to a state budget bill, the latest Independent Fiscal Office revenue estimate, liquor privatization and more. 


  • On education, jobs and the economy, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a New York Times editorial this week on teacher job losses across the nation and highlighted Pennsylvania's public-sector job losses so far in 2012.
  • On immigration, Mark Price wrote about a new report showing that an increasing share of small business owners in Pennsylvania and the nation are immigrants.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood shared his overview of House amendments to the budget bill. Mike also blogged about the revenue estimate released this week by the Independent Fiscal Office, showing that Pennsylvania will take in $626 million more in 2011-12 and 2012-13 than the Corbett administration anticipated in February.
  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg summed up the Keystone Research Center's analysis of an effort to privatize Pennsylvania's liquor stores, which is likely to have significant negative impacts on the state’s fiscal and public health. Later in the week, Mark Price had an update on the liquor privatization debate, which stalled in the state House but is scheduled to begin again on Monday.
  • On property taxes, Michael Wood blogged about voter rejection of a plan to eliminate property taxes in North Dakota and what that could mean for a similar plan in Pennsylvania.

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

PA's Revenue Picture Remains Upbeat Despite a Slow May

Pennsylvania's revenue picture for 2011-12 remains upbeat compared to just a few months ago, despite General Fund collections falling short of estimate in May. An updated revenue estimate released by the Independent Fiscal Office this week shows that the state will take in $626 million more in 2011-12 and 2012-13 than the Corbett administration anticipated in February.

PA, Nation Continue to Shed Teacher Jobs

The New York Times had an editorial this week (titled "Pink Slips") on the loss of jobs in public schools across the United States, leading off with a look at the drastic job cuts in the Reading School District.

Immigrants Contribute to State's Economy as Small Business Owners

An increasing share of small business owners in Pennsylvania and the nation are immigrants, according to a new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative.

The report breaks new ground by using Census data (including the results of a previously unpublished Survey of Business Owners) to study people who own an incorporated business and whose main job is to run that business.

Here's the takeaway.

Morning Must Reads: Alcohol and Lottery Privatization, HEMAP Almost Saved!

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that the latest push to privatize Pennsylvania's liquor stores stalled earlier this week but is now scheduled to begin again next Monday.

Radical Property Tax Plan Falls Short in North Dakota, Dims Chances for Pennsylvania Plan

CNN Monday reports this morning that North Dakota voters, by a wide margin, defeated a plan to end the property tax and replace school funding with oil tax dollars. Why would voters turn down the chance to have their tax bills paid by now booming oil development? It seems that, as in Pennsylvania, a significant majority of North Dakotans like having local control over schools. The North Dakota initiative would have shifted control to the state government, which collects the oil dollars.

PA House Sets Budget Priorities, Laying Groundwork for Final Negotiations

Originally posted at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's web site.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives debated and amended the Senate’s budget bill last week — adding $91 million to the Departments of Education, Environmental Protection and Public Welfare, while subtracting a comparable amount from the Governor’s office, economic development programs and general government operations. 

House leaders established rules for the floor debate that any amendment to the budget had to be paid for through spending cuts elsewhere. As a result, the total budget remains at the Senate’s mark of $27.656 billion.

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