In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog for Week of March 7

This week on Third and State,  we blogged about Governor Corbett’s state budget proposal, ways to grow the economy and promote broadly shared prosperity, “Mad Men” who like fast trains, and much more!

In case you missed it:

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward explained why Governor Corbett’s proposed 2011-12 budget should worry parents and property taxpayers, and Chris Lilienthal shared some budget resources and information from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
  • On wages and the economy, Mark Price challenged the notion that education alone is the cure-all for the economy’s woes and instead invokes the employee-focused business model used by The Container Store as an example of how to boost economic growth and broadly shared prosperity. Mark also delved deeper into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s business climate rankings in a post titled “You Will Never Be Poor Enough.”
  • On other economic issues, Mark shared a 60 Minutes segment on homeless children, while Steve Herzenberg passed on a powerful story that conveys one of the most critical roles that unions play.
  • Finally, we continue a new weekly series we’re calling “The Friday Funny.” This week, “Mad Men” who like fast trains (with a hat tip to PennPIRG’s Megan DeSmedt for passing along).

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

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog for Week of February 21

This week on Third and State,  we blogged about the looming loss of health coverage for nearly 42,000 adultBasic consumers, a misinformation campaign on public- and private-sector pay, the problem with Arkansas’ gas drilling tax, and much more!

In case you missed it:

  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about the faith community’s call on Governor Corbett to preserve adultBasic health coverage for nearly 42,000 Pennsylvanians. Later in the week, Chris also wrote about a candlelight vigil planned for 5:30 p.m. February 28 outside the Governor’s Mansion to protest the end of adultBasic.
  • On public sector wages, Mark Price urged readers, in light of the battle over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, to beware of misinformation campaigns on the differences in public- and private-sector pay.
  • On the natural gas drilling tax, Michael Wood explains why a prominent Arkansas Republican, two-time gubernatorial candidate, and former gas company executive wants to increase his state’s natural gas drilling tax.
  • Finally, on jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg cites New York Times economist David Leonhardt to explain why we need more action to create jobs.

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

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog This Week

This week on Third and State, we blogged about the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Recovery Act, President Obama’s budget plan, a few hundred Valentine’s Day messages for Governor Corbett, sales tax loopholes that only Amazon.com could love, and much more!

In case you missed it:

  • On the state budget, Michael Wood detailed Amazon’s foot-stomping response to efforts by states to close a sales tax loophole that gives the online retailer an unfair competitive edge over other retailers. (Spoiler alert: The brick-and-mortar stores are none too happy about it!) Mike also shined some light on Pennsylvania’s “conservative” debt levels and explained that Pennsylvania’s debt service payments have long been low – between 3% and 4% of the state budget.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal shared some of the Valentines that Governor Corbett received this week from Pennsylvanians asking him to have a heart and save adultBasic.
  • On the federal budget, Chris highlighted some analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on President Obama’s budget proposal for the 2012 Fiscal Year. Mark Price, meanwhile, shared a video clip of Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs discussing the federal budget and noting that both parties have the wrong priorities by cutting services vital to working- and middle-class families.
  • Finally, on the economy, Mark Price takes note of the upcoming two-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mark also blogged that policymakers are focused on the wrong deficit – Main Street America is a lot more concerned about a deficit in jobs and wages than they are about the federal fiscal deficit.

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

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog This Week

This week, we blogged about job growth in Pennsylvania, what message President Obama should send to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, lessons to learn from other state’s fiscal woes and a whole lot more.<!–break–>

In case you missed it:

  • On the economy, Steve Herzenberg explained how Pennsylvania was a big winner in job performance for 2010, while New Jersey was the “biggest loser.” Steve also blogged on what message President Obama should be sending to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and weighed in on the nation’s “Swiss Cheese” tax system.
  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal highlighted another edition of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s Fiscal Facts, and talked about lessons to learn from other states’ budget challenges.
  • On jobs and unemployment, Mark Price wrote that for the long-term unemployed, the jobs just aren’t there. Mark also blogged this week on strengthening the middle class and debunking bogus research on upward mobility and income 

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

In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog This Week

This week, the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center launched a new joint blog, Third and State. Thanks to all of you who have checked it out.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s what you missed:

  • On health care, Sharon Ward examines state legislation sponsored by Rep. Matt Baker that, if passed, would prevent Pennsylvania from moving forward with key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The bill would be, Sharon writes, “a tremendous setback for Pennsylvanians who lack health insurance, but also for sole proprietors and small businesses that have no market power and have lived with double digit rate increases over the past few years.”
  • On jobs and unemployment, Mark Price asks if we can stop attacking people who have lost their job as a result of the Great Recession. In another post, Mark dispels myths about public-sector pay. Mark also writes about why Marcellus Shale development reminds him of the Ford Pinto debacle of the 1970s.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood introduces the first in a new series of policy briefs called February Fiscal Facts. These briefs will shine a light on specific budget topics, starting with how Pennsylvania General Fund spending compares to other states. Chris Lilienthal also highlights the good news in Pennsylvania’s recent revenue report but warns that bigger fiscal challenges loom on the horizon.
  • And Steve Herzenberg takes on income inequality with a look at the “new normal” where a Hedge Fund manager can earn as much as 364,000 farm workers.

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

Introducing Third and State

We are very happy to announce the launch of Third and State, a new joint blog of the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Pennsylvania, like many other states, faces historic challenges – from ensuring that the economy brings broadly shared prosperity to working families, to addressing Pennsylvania’s budget challenges in a balanced way, to implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act, to reducing poverty and strengthening Pennsylvania’s schools.

With this blog, we will present sharp and timely commentary to help you better understand Pennsylvania’s economy and how the state budget and other policies impact the lives of people in this state. And we’ll bring it to you from our perch at Third and State  – across the street from the State Capitol.

Third and State

A common thread throughout this blog will be our belief that Pennsylvania’s best days are ahead of us. We envision a Pennsylvania where prosperity is broadly shared, where parents can see their kids off to school knowing they will be safe and get a good education, where businesses and industries want to locate because of our renowned universities, trained workforce, well-maintained infrastructure and good quality of life.

Our bloggers are economists and public policy experts who will write about the state budget, tax fairness, the economy, health care, income inequality, poverty, and much more. We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments too. Help us make this a conversation about how we can strengthen local communities across Pennsylvania through good economic and budget policies.

You are welcome to follow our new blog at www.thirdandstate.org, or tune in to this diary here at The Pennsylvania Progressive, where we plan to cross post many of our blog posts. We hope you join the conversation.

This blog takes the place of the Keystone Research Center’s Pennsylvania Policy Blog. You can still access past Pennsylvania Policy Blog posts at that site or link to it from our Blog Archive page.

Lehigh Valley Green Building Expo Demonstrates Possibilities of the Green Economy

(Important stuff here.  Thanks for posting this Cynthia. – promoted by John Morgan)

I had a great time at the Lehigh Valley Green Building Expo, on the campus of Lehigh University, on Sunday.  The place was packed with homeowners, people thinking of building, and builders, all looking at the exhibits on solar energy, geothermal heating, energy-efficient toilets, environmentally friendly building materials etc.  Exhibitors and visitors told me that they were surprised by the high turnout, and that many visitors were motivated by the generous federal tax credits in the new stimulus package for energy efficiency for both existing homes and new construction.

Remember how, during the presidential campaign we heard a lot about green building jobs, and all that they could offer to the economy?  And how American ingenuity could bring advances in energy efficiency to both this country and the world?  This expo made those promises concrete to me–quite literally concrete!  James Engelman of Engleman Construction in Macungie demonstrated–among other products–porous concrete, that allows rainwater to seep back into the soil rather than create runoff problems.  And this concrete can be scored and shaped to be quite beautiful–looking like paving stones, and brick.

It sounds like more Pennsylvania tax incentives for energy efficient upgrades may be in the offing, in addition to the Federal tax credits.  HREF=”http://www.keystonehelp.com”>Keystone Help is a longstanding PA program that offers loans and rebates to homeowners for energy efficient home improvements.  

If you are thinking of building green, or improving the energy efficiency of your home, now is a good time to do it.  For more information on local companies and architects involved in green building and energy efficient improvements, check out the Lehigh Valley Green Builders Forum.  I found that all of these exhibitors were very patient, and happy to explain complicated technology to the non-technical.  It was quite an educational  and inspiring day.