Attacks on Public Sector Workers Hurt Working People and Benefit the Rich

Republican lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House and Senate continue to promote bills that would reduce the power of public sector unions by undercutting them financially. These bills would make it harder or illegal to collect some current contributions to unions (e.g., from non-members who enjoy higher wages and benefits and workplace representation from public sector unions).

Health Care Again

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Health Care Again

News reports indicate that, as many of us had feared, the Republicans in Congress and President Trump have not given up on their effort on health care, not only to repeal and replace the ACA but to institute a per capita cap on Medicaid spending.

The new plan, as we will explain in a moment, is even worse than the last one. But before we get to the details, we need to stop and ask, “why are we here again?” Knowing the answer to that question is critical to understanding what the Republicans propose.

House GOP Budget Unites Pennsylvanians Across the Political Spectrum ... in CONDEMNING It

House Bill 218, the unbalanced, cuts-only budget that House Republican leaders fast-tracked through the lower chamber in a near party-line vote last week, has provoked plenty of criticism. Not surprisingly, Democratic legislators decried the many cuts that accompany a budget that reduces total expenditures by 1% over the current fiscal year.

Facts, Not Hysteria, About the Soda Tax

Co-authored by Diana Polson.

The reaction of the beverage industry to the Philadelphia soda tax continues to be self-centered, hysterical, and dubious.

Before looking at their claims, let’s keep in mind something very important: every tax has some negative consequences for some businesses. And, yes, it is a shame if some business absorbs some costs and a few people lose jobs as a result. But public policy has to be driven by the consequences for all of us. So, the question is not whether an individual business is hurt by the Philadelphia soda tax, but whether the city and its citizens benefit on the whole. We think the answer is clearly yes, not just because of the investment in Pre-K education and community recreation centers made possible by this tax, but because of the health and economic benefits of reduced soda consumption.

Guest Blogger: We Must Have Missed the Memo

by Jin David Kim, Communications Director, PCCY

Some state representatives, siding with the research and the will of the people they represent, have boarded the quality pre-k train only to threaten to derail it in this, the first week of PA’s budget process.

Why Do Rural Legislators Vote for Voucher Programs That Deliver NO Benefits to Their Counties?

Imagine two Pennsylvania programs that subsidize a mix of the state's most expensive private schools catering to the very rich plus faith-based instruction hostile to those with different beliefs. Imagine, further, that you don't have either kind of school in your rural county, which is served virtually entirely by public schools.

The (Wholly Inadequate) GOP Budget Proposal (HB 218)

The House Republican Budget proposal for 2017-2017 is deeply problematic in six respects. 

First, the proposal does not close the state’s budget deficit, but leaves a gap of close to $800 million. Most of the revenue ideas presented by the House Republican Caucus to fill that gap are similar to the one-time revenues and fund transfers that have failed to fix our structural deficit in the past. The Republicans do not seem to be considering any proposal to increase recurring revenues by fixing our upside-down tax system.

A Teachable Moment in the PLCB Debate

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Those of us who have been parents or teachers often talk about “teachable moments.” Teachable moments occur when something problematic happens from which we can learn some important lesson.

The bills being considered today to privatize the operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) give us teachable moments — moments that might help people understand why we cannot simply privatize the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board without the state losing $300-400 million per year in General Fund Revenues.

KRC on U.S. Senate Action to Prevent Cities from Improving Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers

We issued the following statement in my name this week in response to the U.S. Senate vote on H.J. Resolution 67 blocking a rule that would make it easier for cities to help private-sector employees save for retirement.
 
 
“Earlier today, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey joined all but one member of the Republican Majority in the U.S. Senate to block large cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Seattle from empowering employees of private-sector companies to save for retirement. Sen. Toomey and his colleagues made clear that they stand for the Wall Street financial firms who charge bigger fees to individuals who set up retirement savings plans on their own. Sen. Toomey and his colleagues stand against the Main Street retirees that would benefit when big cities bargain lower fees from financial services vendors and use competitive bids to select high-quality savings options.

Essential Benefits Are... Essential

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The ACA repeal effort failed in the House on Thursday. But it will be voted on today. 

And the bill keeps getting worse and worse — and that one particular way in which it got worse today may ultimately kill it, even if it passes the House today. 

recent report by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, points to some of the ways the bill that emerged on Thursday morning deepens cuts to health care:

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