May 2019 Posts

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.