Young Philly Politics - Pennsylvania http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=taxonomy/term/67/0 en Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pennsylvania_among_039terrible_10039_most_regressive_tax_states <p><strong>By Chris Lilienthal, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2013/january/pennsylvania-among-terrible-10-most-regressive-tax-states">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>Working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in state and local taxes than the state’s wealthiest earners, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).</p> <p>Pennsylvania’s tax system scored so poorly that it made the list of the “Terrible 10” most regressive tax states in the nation.</p> <p>The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) co-released the report, <a href="http://www.itep.org/whopays/" target="_blank"><em>Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States</em></a>, with ITEP. PBPC Director Sharon Ward made the point in a <a href="http://pennbpc.org/whopays" target="_blank">press release</a> that "No one would deliberately design a tax system where low-income working families pay the greatest share of their income in taxes, but that is exactly the type of upside-down tax system we have in Pennsylvania.”</p> <p>Middle-income families in Pennsylvania pay more than double the share of their income in taxes than the very wealthiest Pennsylvanians, while low-income families pay nearly three times as much as top earners, the report found. Get more details on the report, including a Pennsylvania fact sheet, <a href="http://pennbpc.org/whopays">here</a>.</p> <p><a title="Click for a larger view" href="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/PA-GRAPHIC.jpg"><img src="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/PA-GRAPHIC.jpg" alt="PA State &amp; Local Taxes: Shares of family income for non-elderly taxpayers" width="525" /></a></p> <p>The report should bury once and for all the myth of the makers vs. the takers. Low-income families in Pennsylvania are paying much more of their income in state and local taxes than the top 1%.</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pennsylvania_among_039terrible_10039_most_regressive_tax_states">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pennsylvania_among_039terrible_10039_most_regressive_tax_states#comments Low-income Families middle class Pennsylvania Regressive Taxes Tax Equity Taxes http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8568 Fri, 01 Feb 2013 17:47:00 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8568 at http://youngphillypolitics.com Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=republican_governors_optin_medicaid_expansion <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2013/january/republican-governors-opt-medicaid-expansion">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>There is growing bipartisan agreement that the optional expansion of Medicaid provided by the Affordable Care Act is too good an opportunity to pass up.</p> <p>This month, the Governors of Arizona and North Dakota, both Republicans, announced their intention to opt-in to the Medicaid expansion, joining their counterparts in Nevada and New Mexico. To date, 14 states have decided to expand Medicaid in 2014, and another seven are leaning toward expansion. Pennsylvania remains among the 21 undecided states.</p> <p><img src="http://www.offthechartsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/1-16-13health.jpg" alt="Support for Medicaid Expansion Growing" /></p> <p>Here’s what Arizona Governor Jan Brewer <a href="http://www.azgovernor.gov/dms/upload/GS_011413_SOS2013.pdf" target="_blank">had to say</a> about Medicaid:</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=republican_governors_optin_medicaid_expansion">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=republican_governors_optin_medicaid_expansion#comments Affordable Care Act health care Medicaid Pennsylvania Republicans http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8566 Tue, 29 Jan 2013 18:25:35 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8566 at http://youngphillypolitics.com The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=reports_unions039_death_are_greatly_exaggerated <p><strong>By Stephen Herzenberg, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2013/january/reports-unions-death-are-greatly-exaggerated">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>There's a good deal of crowing in conservative circles this week about the new 2012 numbers on union membership. Union membership nationally&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm" target="_blank">fell by about 400,000, to 14.4 million</a>. Union membership in Pennsylvania <a href="http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/state-union-numbers-2013-01.pdf" target="_blank">declined 45,000</a>, including 59,000 in the private sector.<br /><br />Of course, for anyone who cares about, say, the American Dream, democracy, and rising living standards, the newest numbers are bad news. A simple <a href="http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/labor/news/2013/01/23/50419/state-level-policies-threaten-to-further-weaken-unions/" target="_blank">chart put together by the Center for American Progress</a>&nbsp;shows that unions are vital to the middle class. As unions have weakened, so has the share of income going to middle-income workers&nbsp;—&nbsp;and the gap between the 1% and the 99% has mushroomed.</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=reports_unions039_death_are_greatly_exaggerated">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=reports_unions039_death_are_greatly_exaggerated#comments democracy Income Inequality middle class Pennsylvania Unions http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8565 Fri, 25 Jan 2013 21:50:56 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8565 at http://youngphillypolitics.com Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=mind_gap_opting_out_medicaid_expansion_leaves_lowincome_families_behind <p><strong>By Michael Wood, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2013/january/mind-gap-opting-out-medicaid-expansion-leaves-low-income-families-behind">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&amp;id=3801" target="_blank">great deal</a> for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.</p> <p>One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.</p> <p>However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).</p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href="http://thirdandstate.org/sites/default/files/ifPAoptsout_hires-web.jpg"><img src="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/resize/remote/ab4b14a5845bc32cab61f5ea2ecf0eed-800x635.jpg" /></a></p> <p>Those families&nbsp;between 46% and 100% of poverty&nbsp;earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). <strong>These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.</strong></p> <p>We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.</p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=mind_gap_opting_out_medicaid_expansion_leaves_lowincome_families_behind#comments Affordable Care Act health care Low-income Families Medicaid Pennsylvania Poverty http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8563 Tue, 15 Jan 2013 14:57:05 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8563 at http://youngphillypolitics.com PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pa_revenue_strong_midway_through_year_tax_cut_could_have_big_impact <p><strong>By Michael Wood, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2013/january/pa-revenue-strong-midway-through-year-tax-cut-could-have-big-impact-2014">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>With a strong December showing, the commonwealth now has a <a href="http://pennbpc.org/revenue-tracker-collections-strong-midway-through-fiscal-year-tax-cut-could-have-big-impact-2014#tracker" target="_blank">General Fund revenue surplus</a> of $171 million (1.4% above estimate) for the first half of the 2012-13 fiscal year,&nbsp;double the Corbett administration’s revised estimate for the entire fiscal year.&nbsp;The strong December collections exceeded&nbsp;estimate by $112 million (or 4.8%).</p> <p>The increased revenue is a good sign of a modestly recovering national economy and a brightening of the state’s fiscal picture going into the 2013-14 budget season. This is a nice change from previous years when midyear shortfalls triggered cuts to state services.</p> <p>In December, personal income, corporate, and realty transfer taxes exceeded revenue targets by 10.1%, with sales, inheritance and other taxes (on cigarettes, alcohol, and table games) falling short of expectations by 2.8%. &nbsp;</p> <p>A similar picture exists over the first half of 2012-13 — corporate, personal income and realty transfer tax collections are a combined 5% higher than expected, while sales, inheritance, and other taxes have fallen 2.4% short of budget estimates.</p> <p>One area of concern is that sales tax collections (the state’s second largest tax source) are $125 million, or 2.7%, lower than projected. It is not clear the reason for this as vehicle sales and consumer spending have been increasing. Perhaps the new tax collections from some online retailers may not be as large as anticipated.</p> <p>Compared to last year, collections are $583 million, or 5%, higher, with corporate ($254 million) and personal income tax ($186 million) collections making up most of the increase in 2012-13.</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pa_revenue_strong_midway_through_year_tax_cut_could_have_big_impact">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pa_revenue_strong_midway_through_year_tax_cut_could_have_big_impact#comments budgets Pennsylvania Taxes http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8560 Mon, 07 Jan 2013 14:51:36 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8560 at http://youngphillypolitics.com What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal? http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=what_make_fiscal_cliff_deal <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2013/january/what-make-fiscal-cliff-deal">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p><em>Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal.</em> <a href="http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6751/p/salsa/web/questionnaire/public/?questionnaire_KEY=876" 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="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=what_make_fiscal_cliff_deal">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=what_make_fiscal_cliff_deal#comments Federal Budget fiscal cliff Pennsylvania Tax Cuts Taxes http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8559 Thu, 03 Jan 2013 21:06:37 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8559 at http://youngphillypolitics.com Few in PA Would Be Affected by Ending High-income Tax Cuts http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=few_pa_would_be_affected_ending_highincome_tax_cuts <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2012/december/few-pa-would-be-affected-ending-high-income-tax-cuts">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out today with a <a href="http://pennbpc.org/most-pa-counties-few-would-be-affected-ending-high-income-tax-cuts" 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="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/Map1_PercentageTaxpayersbyCounty.jpg"><strong><img src="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/Map1_PercentageTaxpayersbyCounty.jpg" 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="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/Map2_NumberTaxpayersbyCounty.jpg"><strong><img src="http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/Map2_NumberTaxpayersbyCounty.jpg" 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="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=few_pa_would_be_affected_ending_highincome_tax_cuts">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=few_pa_would_be_affected_ending_highincome_tax_cuts#comments Bush Tax Cuts Federal Budget fiscal cliff Pennsylvania http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8558 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:04:24 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8558 at http://youngphillypolitics.com In the Bid to Privatize PA's Lottery, One Is the Loneliest Number http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=one_loneliest_number <p><strong>By Stephen Herzenberg, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2012/december/one-loneliest-number">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p><em><img style="float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" src="http://thirdandstate.org/sites/default/files/One-Three-Dog-Night.jpg" alt="Three Dog Night: One" width="200" height="200" /></em></p> <p><em>One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do …</em></p> <p><em></em>Although I’m dating myself, some of you may recognize the Harry Nilsson <a href="http://www.threedognight.com/l_one.html" target="_blank">song</a> made famous by Three Dog Night. We recommend that Governor Tom Corbett download it to his iPod as he contemplates whether to accept a solitary bid from Camelot Global Services to take over the operation of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Whether privatizing state services or getting a new roof for your house, having a single lonely bidder is a red flag for a fleecing — for overpaying the contractor.</p> <p>In its bid, Camelot promises 20 to 30 years of lottery profits that barely increase at the rate of inflation — even with the addition of new lottery games such as Keno and online gaming. The deal could produce big-time profits for Camelot with performance no better than the public system could produce. If the company maxes out its incentive-based compensation over the initial 20-year contract, it could receive $1.15 billion in today’s dollars; more when you count annual management fees.</p> <p>A good deal for Camelot, but not for the Pennsylvania seniors who benefit from lottery proceeds, as the Keystone Research Center <a href="http://keystoneresearch.org/publications/research/lottery-privatization" target="_blank">finds in a new report</a>. The impact on seniors is critical since the lottery generates $1 billion a year for services that benefit area senior centers, low-cost prescription drugs, transportation for seniors, and property tax and rent rebates.</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=one_loneliest_number">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=one_loneliest_number#comments Lottery Pennsylvania privatization Seniors Tom Corbett http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8557 Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:17:59 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8557 at http://youngphillypolitics.com Pennsylvania Private Job Performance Through the Looking Glass http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pennsylvania_private_job_performance_through_looking_glass <p><strong>By Stephen Herzenberg, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2012/november/pennsylvania-private-job-performance-through-looking-glass">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>In the 1890s, scientist George Stratton reported that, after four days of wearing a lens that inverted his vision, his brain reprocessed what he saw and flipped everything back up the right way.</p> <p><a href="http://articles.mcall.com/2012-11-08/news/mc-pa-new-legislature-20121108_1_senate-republicans-house-republicans-majority-republicans" target="_blank">John Micek’s Friday article</a>&nbsp;brought this experiment to mind. Micek quotes Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith summing up the accomplishments of the House of Representatives in the 2011-12 legislative session: "We … focused on the economy and private-sector job creation." Majority Leader Mike Turzai echoed Smith saying: "We kept our commitments on fiscal responsibility and private-sector job-creation."</p> <p>Let’s take a look at some actual job numbers.</p> <p>Between January 2011 (the start of the current legislative session) and September 2012 (the latest data available), the number of private-sector jobs in Pennsylvania grew by 87,000, an increase of 1.8%. In this period, Pennsylvania ranked 31st out of the 50 states for private job growth by percentage. National private-sector job growth equaled 3%.</p> <p>If you look at the last 12 months, from September 2011 to September 2012, Pennsylvania’s private-sector job ranking falls to 35th, with the state’s private-sector job growth equal to about half the national rate.</p> <p>Now, compare that to job growth between January 2010 and January 2011, when the commonwealth ranked 12th among the 50 states with job growth of 1.8% (compared to the national rate of 1.3%).</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pennsylvania_private_job_performance_through_looking_glass">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=pennsylvania_private_job_performance_through_looking_glass#comments economy jobs Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Legislature Private-Sector Jobs http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8548 Mon, 12 Nov 2012 22:38:34 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8548 at http://youngphillypolitics.com Will Pennsylvania Take Full Advantage of Health Reform? http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=will_pennsylvania_take_full_advantage_health_reform <p><strong>By Chris Lilienthal, <a href="http://thirdandstate.org/2012/november/will-pennsylvania-take-full-advantage-health-reform">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>With the election decided, it is now clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. That’s great news for Pennsylvanians, some of whom have already begun to benefit from the health reform law, and many others who will see more gains as major provisions take effect in 2014.</p> <p>As Judy Solomon <a href="http://www.offthechartsblog.org/will-states-take-full-advantage-of-health-reform/" target="_blank">writes</a> at the Off the Charts Blog, a key provision of the law will allow states to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults earning up to 133% of the poverty line, with the federal government <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&amp;id=3801" target="_blank">covering most of the costs</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>The question now is whether some states will squander this opportunity to cover millions of uninsured Americans.<br /><br />Coverage for more than 11 million poor, uninsured adults is at risk if states don’t expand Medicaid, <a href="http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412607-Opting-Out-of-the-Medicaid-Expansion-Under-the-ACA.pdf" target="_blank">according to the Urban Institute</a>.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.offthechartsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11-7-12health.jpg" alt="Status of Health Reform Medicaid Expansion" width="451" height="376" /></p> </blockquote> <p>As you can see in the chart above, Pennsylvania is among the states that have not made a clear decision on the Medicaid expansion.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=will_pennsylvania_take_full_advantage_health_reform">read more</a></p> http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=will_pennsylvania_take_full_advantage_health_reform#comments Affordable Care Act health care Medicaid Pennsylvania http://youngphillypolitics.com/?q=crss/node/8547 Fri, 09 Nov 2012 18:58:33 +0000 Thirdandstate.org 8547 at http://youngphillypolitics.com