It looks like Pennsylvania Republicans are Ready to Move on the Minimum Wage. But is $8.50 enough? [Hint: No, it is not!]

Posted in:

State Senators Michele Brooks (R – Mercer County) and Dan Laughlin (R – Erie County) told the Manufacturer and Business Association that with consensus building in Harrisburg, this will be the year to raise the minimum wage.

That’s very good news.

But the senators said that the wage being discussed (among Republicans) is an increase to $8 or $8.50 “if it had to be tied to inflation.” While I applaud the senators for being willing to move on this issue—for the first time in over a decade—raising the minimum wage $.75 cents or $1.25 is wholly inadequate.

Judicial Districts and Judicial Independence

Posted in:

This week the Republican leadership of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives plan to take up a HB 196, a constitutional amendment proposed by Representative Russ Diamond to elect the appellate court judges who sit on the Supreme Court and the two second-level courts, the Commonwealth Court and Superior Court, by districts rather than in statewide elections. This proposal is similar to the Aument amendment to SB22 a redistricting reform proposal that passed the Senate but stalled in the House last year.

HB 196 is deeply problematic for three reasons.

Low Teacher Pay Shortchanges Teachers—and Students—in Pennsylvania

Posted in:

We wanted to highlight the Economic Policy Institute’s new analysis on the teacher pay gap and explain why it should encourage Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass a proposal to raise the starting salaries of the state’s public school educators.

Nationally, in terms of total compensation (wages plus benefits), teachers earned 13.1 percent less than similar college graduates in 2018, the EPI report finds.

Pennsylvania is no exception. Weekly wages for Pennsylvania teachers are now 13.5 percent lower than for other college-educated workers. This compares to an average of 11.5 percent in neighboring states, including 18.5 percent in West Virginia, where teachers recently triggered a wave of statewide and city teacher strikes.

Fair Share Tax Plan - 2019 Edition

The main reason that Pennsylvania’s tax system is so upside-down—with the top 1% paying only 6% of their income in taxes while the middle 20% pays 11.1% and the bottom 20% pays 13.8%—is that the Pennsylvania Constitution prohibits us from enacting a graduated personal income tax. Sales and property taxes tend to take a higher percentage of the income of taxpayers at the bottom and in the middle than at the top. But graduated income taxes in many states—including all of our neighbors—compensate by taxing those at the top at a higher rate.

Tax Freedom Day? Not Really.

Every year the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, releases a report about “Tax Freedom Day,” a made-up day of the year that indicates when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay this year’s federal, state, and local taxes. This year, the report says, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 16, 2019.

A New Proposal Would Give a Much-Needed Boost to Pennsylvania’s Working Families

Senator Bob Casey today joined Senators Sherrod Brown, Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, and Ron Wyden to introduce the Working Families Tax Relief Act (WFTRA), legislation that would begin to fix our tax laws to help working people with low-wage jobs make ends meet as they work to support themselves and their families. The proposal would strengthen the highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families with children and working people without children at home, ensure that millions of poor children aren’t left out of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and boost the CTC for families with very young children. A summary of key provisions of the WFTRA is included below.

Pennsylvania’s Tax Structure Worsens Income Inequality, the Racial Wealth Gap and Contributes to our Revenue Inadequacy

State tax systems across the United States vary tremendously in their structure, resulting in varied impacts on income inequality, racial wealth disparities, and revenue adequacy. As the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s new report shows, states with no personal income tax or a flat personal income tax rate tend to fare the worst.

Governor Wolf's 2019-2020 Budget: A First Take

Governor Wolf’s 2019-2020 budget proposal reflects the unique politica

Federal Shutdown, Waiver Proposals Threaten SNAP, Put Residents at Risk

The following is a guest blog post written by Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.

Two recent developments in the federal government could spell disaster for thousands Pennsylvanians who receive monthly food benefits.

New Year's Day Minimum Wage Hikes Raise Pay for Millions of US Workers But Not in PA; New Legislature Must Change That

Posted in:

As of today, this first day of 2019, 20 U.S. states will raise their minimum wages, lifting pay for 5.3 million workers across the country and 614,000 in four of Pennsylvania's neighboring states. The increases in our neighbors include a $0.25 per hour adjustment for inflation in Ohio and New Jersey, a $0.50 per hour increase in Delaware, and a $0.70 to $2.00 per hour increase in New York State—the biggest increase in New York City.

Syndicate content