KRC Reports in Small Bites: The Minimum Wage Report 2018: Post 1 of 6

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We write a lot and that makes it hard to find the time to catch up on our latest research. To make our work easier to digest in 2018, we are breaking reports up into smaller bite size pieces and posting them here. This post is the first in a series of six highlighting key findings from our latest report The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage in 2018. Netflix down? Can't read another grim news story? You can binge on the full report here.

A Temporary Setback on the Way to a Just America

The Trump-GOP tax cut bill, which passed the House on a party-line vote with twelve Republicans voting against this afternoon and is likely to pass the Senate tonight, reminds us that history does not move in a straight line. There are moments, like this one, in which America takes a step away from its promise of equality and justice for all.

State Education Funding Matters – A Tale of Two States (PA and NJ)

A new “big-data” base on U.S. school districts provides new evidence that Pennsylvania has many high-performing schools but many lower-income rural and urban districts that perform less well. A likely culprit: Pennsylvania’s inadequate state funding for schools. Low state school funding leaves moderate- and lower-income districts poorly funded and with less in total funding than affluent districts, even though the lower-income districts serve students with higher rates of poverty, non-English speaking families, and other challenges that hold back achievement.

It redistributes from working people and the middle class to the rich. And that's just wrong.

With all the controversy over the details of the tax cut bill that is moving towards a final vote in the House and Senate this week it is easy to forget about the basic features of the bill. 

Limitations on the State and Local Tax Deduction Hurt Pennsylvania in Two Ways

A major issue in the debate over the Republican tax cut bill is whether the deduction for state and local taxes (the SALT deduction) should be eliminated or reduced. The conference committee bill released on Friday proposes a “compromise” that would allow individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in some combination of state and local property and income or sales taxes. 

That compromise is deeply problematic for Pennsylvania and many Pennsylvanians, in two different ways. 

First, substantial numbers of upper middle-class Pennsylvanians will see their taxes go up as a result of the limitation on state and local tax deductions in the conference committee bill. These taxpayers are likely to be concentrated in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where a high percentage of taxpayers take the state and local deduction. 

Second, the state as a whole will suffer because the limitation on the state and local tax deduction will make it more difficult for the state to raise taxes. This is a serious issue, especially at a time when the state suffers from both recurring budget deficits and a deep public investment deficit and yet there is little political will in the General Assembly to raise taxes. 

We consider these two problems in order after the break.

Fight Rising Inequality by Pushing Back on Tip Theft!

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Hello from Paris everyone!

I will resist here posting pictures of me eating fancy cheeses and drinking wine.

The GOP-Backed Tax Bill: A Lose-Now, Lose-More-Later Plan for Low- and Middle-Income Americans

GOP-backed tax bills have passed both the House and the Senate. Many of us have already seen charts which show how, under these plans, low and middle-income families will eventually see their taxes raised (by 2027), while the top 1% sees huge savings (see, for example, the chart below showing the Senate bill’s impact on Pennsylvania). What hasn’t been discussed as much is that these bills are step one in a two-part process, designed to severely cut critical government programs.

The GOP Tax Bill: An Assault on Economic Equality and Democracy

Budgets, it is frequently said, are an embodiment of our moral ideals and commitments. If so, the tax plan adopted by the Senate on Friday represents an extreme moral failure on the part of the senators from the Republican Party who voted for it. At a time when incomes are becoming ever more unequal, the Republican tax plan will ultimately make the rich richer and the poor and middle class poorer. Not only will working people and the middle class suffer, but so will our whole country. 

Show Me the Savings! Bipartisan Lawmakers Back Transparency to Stop Outsourcing That Costs School Districts More

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A large body of research and experience shows that public sector outsourcing often backfires. Rather than resulting in savings for taxpayers, governments too often get bilked, paying more money to private vendors, in some cases for inferior services. To rub salt in the wounds, private companies may pay lower wages and benefits, completing the lose-lose-lose trifecta – bad for taxpayers, bad for government, bad for workers. 

New Jersey and the $15 Minimum Wage

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With yesterday’s news that the Garden State will move toward a $15 minimum wage next year as pledged by Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, and alongside his fellow Democrats who control the state Legislature, one must ask: when will Pennsylvania’s legislature get on board and follow in the footsteps of states like New Jersey, New York and Maryland?

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