Young Philly Politics - Federal Budget en What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal? <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p><em>Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal.</em> <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Take our two-question survey.</em></a></p> <p>The agreement reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing&nbsp;—&nbsp;and it leaves much unsettled. The urgency of the Fiscal Cliff has dissipated, but significant threats remain to federal funding for state and local services as well as refundable tax credits for low-income working families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.</p> <p>There is much to dislike in this agreement. It makes permanent most of the Bush era tax cuts, ensuring that income from dividends and capital gains will be taxed at a lower rate than income from work. It makes permanent the estate tax but locks in a tax rate that creates a huge windfall for the top 0.3% of households.&nbsp;Sequestration cuts — the automatic spending cuts that members of both parties hated and the President said would not occur — have been postponed for two months, with three-quarters of FFY 2013 cuts ($85.6 billion) and $109 billion in annual cuts after that still in law through 2022.&nbsp;The President’s line in the sand on raising tax rates for the top 2% of earners got pushed way back, with top rates kicking in at $400,000 for an individual and $450,000 for a couple. A low-wage earner might need 20 years to make that much.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Federal Budget fiscal cliff Pennsylvania Tax Cuts Taxes Thu, 03 Jan 2013 21:06:37 +0000 8559 at Few in PA Would Be Affected by Ending High-income Tax Cuts <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out today with a <a href="" target="_blank">new analysis</a> finding that&nbsp;President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.</p> <p>In over half of the state's 67 counties, fewer than 1 in 100 residents (that's 1%) would pay the higher marginal tax rate on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.</p> <p>In most counties, only a small number of individuals are affected. In 24 counties, fewer than 200 high-income earners would pay the higher rate. Almost two-thirds of the top earners who would be impacted reside in just six Pennsylvania counties.</p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href=""><strong><img src="" alt="Map 1. Percentage of Taxpayers in Each PA County with Incomes Over $250,000" width="500" /></strong></a></p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href=""><strong><img src="" alt="Map 2. Number of Taxpayers in Each PA County with Incomes Over $250,000" width="500" /></strong></a></p> <p>Under President Obama’s plan, families earning over $250,000 would keep other tax breaks on the first $250,000 of income, including a lower bottom tax rate and preferential tax rates on capital gains and dividends — a savings of $12,112 per taxpayer. The top tax rates would be restored to those in effect in the 1990s when the nation added 23 million jobs.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Bush Tax Cuts Federal Budget fiscal cliff Pennsylvania Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:04:24 +0000 8558 at One Year and Still Going Strong <p> </p><p><a href="">Third and State</a> celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. We launched on February 1, 2011, and 350 posts later we're still going strong.</p> <p>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. And so we bring you a countdown of the top 10 most viewed blog posts at Third and State.</p> <p>10. <a href="">Governor Corbett Unveils 2011-12 Budget Proposal</a>, March 9, 2011:</p> <blockquote><p>By taking direct aim at schools and higher education, the Governor’s plan disregards a fundamental principle of economic growth — businesses locate and expand in states with an educated workforce and academic centers of innovation.<br /><br />There is a better choice. Lawmakers can choose to take a more balanced approach that makes targeted cuts, improves accountability and raises revenue.</p> </blockquote> <p>9. <a href="">2011-12 State Budget Highlights</a>, June 28, 2011:</p> <blockquote><p>State legislative leaders and Governor Tom Corbett agreed on a 2011-12 state budget deal this week, and on Tuesday, the state Senate approved it on a 30-20 party-line vote. The bill heads to the House of Representatives next. ...<br /><br />The biggest cuts, in both dollars and percentages, are in education programs, including PreK-12 and higher education.</p> </blockquote> <p>8. <a href="">Marcellus Shale, Unemployment and Industrial Diversity</a>, August 3, 2011:</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Chambers of Commerce economy Education Federal Budget Income Inequality jobs Marcellus Shale Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Taxes Unemployment wages Fri, 03 Feb 2012 20:25:08 +0000 8310 at SOTU 2012: Community Colleges, Workforce Development, Taxes & Infrastructure <p><em>A blog post by Mark Price, originally published at <a href="">Third and State</a>.</em></p> <p>The <em>Pittsburgh Post-Gazette</em> has <a href="" target="_blank">a pretty good summary</a> of the State of the Union.</p> <p>Here is the <a href="" target="_blank">full text</a> of the President's speech, and Wonkblog has a version of the speech with only what they define as <a href="" target="_blank">specific policy proposals</a>.</p> <p>What follows are our favorites from the speech.</p> <p>Community colleges and workforce development:</p> <blockquote><p>Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. My Administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers – places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.<br /><br />I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It’s time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.</p> </blockquote> <p>Taxes:</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Federal Budget Higher Education infrastructure jobs Pennsylvania state of the union Taxes Unemployment Workforce Development Wed, 25 Jan 2012 14:23:49 +0000 8304 at Must Reads: State of The Union, Stimulus and Austerity Economics PA Style <p><em>A blog post by Mark Price, originally published at <a href="">Third and State</a>.</em></p> <p>Tonight President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress. We are expecting the President to recommend an extension through the end of 2012 of extended unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax credit. It looks as though a major theme in the address — besides the catch phrase “built to last” — will be conventional policies aimed at reducing inequality, such as increased spending/tax credits for education and training.</p> <p>Education and training are important and fruitful means of reducing inequality, but they fall well short of what's needed to reduce the degree of inequality we now face.&nbsp; A more forceful step in the direction of reducing inequality would include raising the minimum wage and making it easier for workers to form and join unions. We don't expect to hear the President call for either of those changes.</p> <p>The President will propose paying for his new initiatives with higher taxes on wealthy households. As with education and training, restoring some sense of fairness to the tax code is a laudable goal but longer-lasting reductions in inequality will only come from policies that allow the pre-tax wages of more Americans to rise as the size and wealth of our economy grows.</p> <ul> <li>Tracie Mauriello, <em>Pittsburgh Post-Gazette</em> — <a href="" target="_blank">Obama to target economy in State of the Union address tonight</a>:</li> </ul> <blockquote><p>Manufacturing, energy, job training and middle-class growth will be the cornerstones of President Barack Obama's speech tonight as he takes to the nation's grandest political stage for the annual address on the state of the union, according to senior advisers.</p> </blockquote><p><a href="">read more</a></p> Construction economy Education Federal Budget Fiscal Policy jobs Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Budget Poverty Property Taxes Public Welfare recession state of the union Taxes Unemployment Tue, 24 Jan 2012 15:13:58 +0000 8301 at What is Pat Toomey Doing? Inequality and America's Future <p><em>A blog post by Stephen Herzenberg, originally published at <a href="" target="_blank">Third and State</a>.</em></p> <p>Let me connect three dots for you. Draw your own conclusions about the impact of Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s proposal in the super committee to reduce the federal deficit.</p> <p><strong>Dot Number 1 — The American middle class is shrinking</strong>: <a href=";ref=todayspaper" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a> reports this morning that the middle class is shrinking in America — based on where people live.&nbsp; In 2007, the latest year studied, 44% of families lived in middle-income neighborhoods, down from 65 percent of families in 1970. A third of families lived in very high-income or poor neighborhoods now, up from just 15 percent of families in 1970. The case example used to illustrate this national trend — the Philadelphia metropolitan area.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> democracy economy Federal Budget Federal Deficit Inequality middle class Pat Toomey Pennsylvania Super Committee Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:33:34 +0000 8249 at Guv sez: Drop Dead, Mayor sez: Keep smilin' <p><strong>Sub-Headline: Sorry, Can’t Really Sugarcoat This Stuff Folks.</strong></p> <p>There’s no doubt that Philly’s in a heap of trouble from budgets being torturously made, as we speak, in Washington, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. It seems we’re assured of two years of bad news, first from service cuts, then from tax increases on working people and homeowners. With a little bit of bad luck we could face a mix of both. The moral? We’d better organize ourselves a lot better than we did in 2010 if we don’t want a third and fourth year helping of the same thing. And also, if you pass a corporate exec in the street, keep your hands in your pockets.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> BPT city budget Federal Budget Governor Corbett Mayor Nutter Property Taxes state budget wage taxes Tue, 29 Mar 2011 15:56:56 +0000 Stan Shapiro 7992 at In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog for Week of March 21 <p>This week on <a href="">Third and State</a>, we blogged about Marcellus Shale trickle down economics, the Affordable Care Act's first birthday, unions and inequality, and much more!</p> <p><strong>In case you missed it:</strong></p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> economy Federal Budget Income Inequality Marcellus Shale Pennsylvania State Budget Unions wages Fri, 25 Mar 2011 20:51:19 +0000 7986 at In Case You Missed It: Third and State Blog This Week <p>This week on <a href="">Third and State</a>, 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 could love, and much more!</p> <p><b>In case you missed it:</b></p> <p></p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Federal Budget Fiscal and Monetary Policy healthcare Pennsylvania Economy Pennsylvania State Budget Sat, 19 Feb 2011 21:41:05 +0000 7934 at