Morning Must Reads: Budget Day

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning previews big cuts to state support for higher education in today's budget proposal from Governor Corbett. Last year's budget hit poor k-12 school districts hard. This year's cuts to higher education, as the Inquirer story illustrates, are likely to result in rising tuition, which will only make it harder for low-income students to gain access to one of the most important institutions we have for reducing inequality. 

More of the Same? Governor Corbett's Next Budget

Governor Tom Corbett will release his second budget Tuesday, and if history is any indication, we can expect more of the same — more cuts to education and health services and more silence on corporate tax loopholes.

The Governor will deliver his state budget address to a joint session of the state Legislature at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. You can watch it live on PCN or follow the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Twitter as we live-tweet the speech.

Morning Must Reads: Charters A Drag On School District Budgets, One Good Jobs Report Does Not Equal Full Employment

Stories this morning out of York and Delaware County suggest charter schools in urban areas are making it harder for public school districts to balance their budgets.

Paul Krugman explains why one relatively good jobs report does not mean we are getting any nearer to full employment anytime soon.

A Harrisburg Rooster Takes Credit For The Sunrise

A recent tweet (see above) from our good friends over at the Commonwealth Foundation highlights that private-sector job growth in 2011 was the strongest in Pennsylvania since 1999 and links that outcome to state tax and spending policy.

The figure below plots the 12-month moving average of private-sector payrolls in Pennsylvania since 1990. What you will notice about the figure is that in the period following a recession (the areas shaded gray*) private-sector payrolls expand. That's what is known in macroeconomics as an expansion; it's been a characteristic of every business cycle on record since 1854. Given where we are in the business cycle, to link private-sector job growth to 2011 state tax and spending policy is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

Third and State This Week: $300 Million Lost to Driling Tax Inaction, Asset Testing and Happy 1st Birthday to Us

This week, we blogged about the $300 million in revenue lost to legislative inaction on a natural gas drilling tax, proposed asset testing for food assistance, and the top 10 blog posts of the past year in celebration of Third and State's 1st birthday. Plus: Morning Must Reads and another edition of Price of Service Cuts.


  • On the Marcellus Shale, Chris Lilienthal wrote that legislative inaction on a natural gas drilling tax has cost Pennsylvania $300 million in lost revenue.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood shared the latest installment in the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's Price of Service Cuts series, with a look at funding cuts to higher education and how that is helping to make college even more unaffordable for many Pennsylvanians.
  • On poverty and public welfare, Mark Price blogged about Corbett administration-proposed asset testing for food assistance with posts here and here.
  • In other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price wrote about the payroll tax cut and cuts in block grants to local governments; local jobs data and the unemployment debate in Washington; and the value of job training.
  • Finally, Chris Lilienthal shared the top 10 most read blog posts of the past year in honor of Third and State's 1st birthday on February 1.

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

One Year and Still Going Strong

Third and State celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. We launched on February 1, 2011, and 350 posts later we're still going strong.

We couldn't do it without our readers, so we thought it would be fun to take a look back at what posts you liked the most over the past year. And so we bring you a countdown of the top 10 most viewed blog posts at Third and State.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Test Snark, School Police and Property Taxes

Lancaster Rep. Mike Sturla was quoted in Capitolwire (paywall) on a Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) proposal to limit access to SNAP, or food stamp, benefits to households with fewer than $5,500 in assets:

"We're going to take the concept of the safety net and flip it and tell people they have to impoverish themselves before they get the benefits."

This quote caught the eye of the Commonwealth Foundation's Nathan Benefield.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Tests, Layoffs and The Race To Give Away Tax Dollars To Big Oil

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare submitted its final proposal to the federal Food and Nutrition Service for an asset test on SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps).

Morning Must Reads: The Payroll Tax Cut, Cuts in Block Grants for Local Gov and the State Use Tax

The economic news in the past couple of weeks has been relatively positive so that must mean it is time for another down to the wire battle in Washington to help restore pessimism! At the end of the month, temporary extensions to the payroll tax credit and extended unemployment benefits will expire. With unemployment high, both measures should be extended through the end of the year.

Pa. Loses $300 Million to Gas Drilling Tax Impasse

Legislative inaction on a natural gas drilling tax has cost Pennsylvania $300 million in lost revenue, according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Our Drilling Tax Ticker tracks the revenue Pennsylvania has lost since October 1, 2009 by not having a tax in place. It shot past $300 million Monday morning.

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