Prevailing Wage Opponents Fail Labor Market Statistics 101

Part Two of a Three-part Series on Prevailing Wage. Read Part 1.

The overwhelming weight of evidence based on the actual cost of public construction projects shows that prevailing wage laws do not raise costs. Therefore, advocates of repealing the law in Pennsylvania ignore this evidence. Instead of “evidence-based policy,” we have “lack-of-evidence-based policy.” Go figure.

Morning Must Reads: Young Workers in the Great Recession, Gov. Targets Disabled and Pension Returns

The Philadelphia Inquirer has begun a series of reports on the impact of the Great Recession on young workers.  Here is a description of the series followed by a link to the first story in the series. Worth a read.

Third and State This Week: Being Fair to Business, Prevailing Wage Facts and a Little Health Care Irony

This week at Third and State, we fact-checked inaccurate claims on prevailing wage and blogged about closing corporate tax loopholes, growing the state's budget pie and an irony in the Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Plus a recap of what leading economists had to say about the February job numbers and, of course, the Morning Must Reads.


  • On jobs and wages, Mark Price posted the first of a three-part series fact-checking inaccurate claims about Pennsylvania's prevailing wage law. The other two posts will be published on Monday and Tuesday.
  • On state budget and taxes, Sharon Ward shared her Pittsburgh Post-Gazette letter to the editor saying that to be truly fair to all businesses Pennsylvania needs to close corporate tax loopholes. Chris Lilienthal highlighted an event this week in Harrisburg that featured pie and a "close the loopholes" message for lawmakers.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal shared an editorial from the Harrisburg Patriot-News noting a little irony in the Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
  • With the national jobs report for March due out next week, intern Jheanelle Chambers recapped what D.C.’s leading economists had to say about the February job numbers.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news reports on massive public-sector job losses after the 2010 election, articles on accounting scandals and differing views of how to rebuild the economy, and stories on pensions and crony capitalism. Finally, Chris Lilienthal highlighted news stories on the likely impact of proposed state cuts to health care and other services, including treatment for people trying to overcome addiction.

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

Prevailing Wage Opponents Fail the Laugh Test

Part One of a Three-part Series on Prevailing Wage

Prevailing wage laws have long operated nationally and in states as a check against the tendency of the construction industry to degenerate into destructive wage and price competition. Such competition can drive skilled and experienced workers from the industry, reduce productivity and quality, and lead to poverty-level jobs, all without saving construction customers any money.

Citizens Deliver Pie to Lawmakers with Message to Close Loopholes

With a pie in one hand and a list of tax loopholes in the other, Pennsylvania citizens delivered a message to state lawmakers this week — we can restore cuts that have hurt seniors, children and families without raising taxes. By closing loopholes and delaying tax cuts for corporations, lawmakers can enact a better budget.

Pie Day was hosted on Monday by Better Choices for Pennsylvania, a coalition of organizations working for a responsible state budget. Volunteer pie deliverers stopped by each lawmaker’s office to drop off a pie and a handout contrasting existing tax loopholes with funding cuts that could be restored by closing the loophole. In each case, additional revenue could help fund vital services without raising taxes.

Economists' Roundtable on February Jobs Report

By Jheanelle Chambers, Intern

U.S. jobs numbers for March are due out next week. In anticipation, here is a quick review of what D.C.’s leading economists had to say about the February job numbers.

Morning Must Reads: Nowhere to Go and More Addicts on the Streets

Mark Price is taking today and Friday off from Morning Must Reads, so you're stuck with me.

First up, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning on the impact of Governor Corbett's proposed budget cuts on the lives of people in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Who is getting hit? Adults with disabilities, the homeless, people with mental-health illnesses, HIV patients needing hospice care, children aging out of foster care, and seniors, among others.

A Ringing Irony

As Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act wind down today, I found this editorial from the Harrisburg Patriot-News particularly interesting:

The ringing irony about this week’s U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act is that the law’s core principles were all, originally, conservative. And when they were first promoted, almost no one said they were unconstitutional. ...

Morning Must Reads: Governing Little or Just Governing Badly?

On Tuesday, The Nation ran a story profiling the changes in economic and social policy in the states following the 2010 election. (Wonky readers may also enjoy Konczal and Covert's short briefing paper on the same subject.)

Want to Be Fair to PA Businesses? Close Loopholes

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has published my letter to the editor responding to an opinion piece last week calling on Pennsylvania lawmakers to be fair to business. We agree that lawmakers should be fair to all businesses. That's why we support closing tax loopholes and leveling the playing field for all corporations in the state. Here's my letter.

Gene Barr of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is right to suggest that Pennsylvania be fair to business ("Be Fair to Pa. Businesses," March 19 Perspectives), which is why closing corporate tax loopholes makes sense. It will level the playing field for Pennsylvania corporations that are competing against large multistate companies.

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