The Myths Behind Governor Corbett's Budget Myths

Governor Tom Corbett's May 21 newsletter offered up responses to five "myths" the administration claims are circulating about his proposed budget for next year. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center examined these myths and the myths behind the myths to give you a clear picture about what is fact and what is fiction in Harrisburg.

House Passes Predatory Pay Day Lending Bill

Counting two late votes, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 103 to 91 in favor of House Bill 2191, a measure that raises the cap on the annual interest rate for payday loans to 369%. There was bipartisan opposition to the bill with 19 Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the measure. Support for the measure was also bipartisan with 17 Democrats joining Republicans voting in favor.

Possible Vote To Permit Predatory Payday Lending Looms Again Today

According to Kerry Smith of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, House Bill 2191 did not get a vote in the Pennsylvania House as expected Tuesday, but it is once again on the calendar for possible consideration today. Please ask your friends and family to reach out to their representative to keep the pressure on to not pass this bill.

House to Vote on 300% Interest Rate Payday Loans Today

UPDATE: House Bill 2191 was not voted upon as expected on Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania House will vote today on one of the most surprisingly controversial bills of the session, a plan to legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania. House Bill 2191, sponsored by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester County), will allow payday loans to carry rates of more than 300% annually – more than 12 times the current legal limit.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Tests Are For Poor People Not Shell Oil

Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News reviews a proposal from Governor Tom Corbett to give Shell Oil even more money for doing something they are already planning to do anyway.

May Job Numbers: Not Good But No Reason to Panic

As I mentioned this morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the national unemployment rate increased slightly in May to 8.2%, while non-farm payrolls increased by just 69,000 jobs. The report was disappointing, especially since the economy added 226,000 jobs a month in the first quarter of 2012.

Morning Must Reads: Austerity Hurts and the Sands in Bethlehem Has A Union But No Contract!

On Friday, we got a disappointing jobs report for May in which unemployment ticked up slightly and non-farm payroll growth came in below 100,000 jobs. The volatility of the numbers may reflect unseasonably warm winter weather rather than a fundamental slowdown in the economy. That said, the economy continues to grow at a pace too slow to bring down the unemployment rate quickly.

The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Maria Panaritis has a biting commentary today on the impact of economic austerity on Pennsylvania schools.

Third and State This Week: PA Budget, Liquor Privatization, Very Hot Working Conditions and CEO Pay

This week at Third and State, we blogged about where the state budget is at, protesters pressuring Amazon to install air conditioning in warehouses, how much CEOs earned in 2011 and more. Plus, we responded to attacks on a recent Keystone Research Center report on alcohol privatization and alcohol-related traffic deaths.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg responded to an attack from a spokesman with the Commonwealth Foundation on a recent Keystone Research Center report showing that states like Pennsylvania which tightly control alcohol distribution have fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths as a result.
  • On the workplace, Michael Wood highlighted a news report on how protesters pressured Amazon into installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward shared her memo to reporters and editors providing an overview of where things are at with the budget.
  • On education and the economy, Mark Price wrote about recent news reports on student loan debt for college dropouts and new figures showing that the typical CEO made $4,615 an hour in 2011.
  • And on health care, Chris Lilienthal noted a news report on efforts by conservative groups to persuade states to not create state-level health insurance exchanges.

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

Final Push for State Budget Starts Next Week

Next week begins the final push in Harrisburg for a state budget. I put out a memo today to editors and reporters providing an overview of where things are at with the budget. Here's the overview:

Misguided Strategy: Groups Lobbying States to Not Pass Health Insurance Exchanges

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Conservative groups are crisscrossing the country trying to convince state policymakers to steer clear of creating state level health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

Health insurance exchanges, online marketplaces where consumers can compare and purchases affordable health insurance plans, are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act. States have until November to submit plans for exchanges, which are supposed to be up and running by 2014. 

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