A centerpiece of the Senate Democrats agenda are jobs, the economy, and providing a just foundation for progress of working people. We want to empower working people to find fulfilling work, earn better paychecks and benefits, and build wealth over their careers that will provide for their families and themselves in retirement. A fair economy that accrues opportunities and rewards for all people, not just those at the top rungs of the economic ladder is achievable.
Increase the Minimum Wage
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained stagnant for 13 years. The current minimum wage of $7.25 was put into effect in 2009 as a result of Federal guidelines.
The old adage that a rising tide lifts all ships still holds true. The PA Budget and Policy Center estimates that 1.6 million Pennsylvanians- or a quarter of the work force- will get a raise if the minimum wage reaches $15 an hour.
It’s far past time to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania. Right now, 11 states and Washington D.C. have enacted minimum wages at $15 an hour or higher, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
Invest in Employees
Senate Democrats advocate for programs and training to improve income and
working conditions. Customized job training, connecting community colleges and technical schools with employers, improving worker investment board resources, and creating career readiness councils are at the top of our agenda.
Bettering paychecks, benefits, and working environment is at the heart of the Senate Democrats priorities.
End Workplace Harassment and Sexual Abuse
We must empower people in the workplace. Providing safe and equal working conditions is the first step. We will not stand for a person’s job or promotion to be leveraged for sex. We will not stand for a person’s livelihood to be taken away from them because they reported workplace harassment.
Require Mandatory Paid Sick Leave
Healthy employees are productive employees. We need to ensure that people
are earning time off to take care of themselves and their families. Choosing between a paycheck and going to the doctor shouldn’t be a choice at all. In addition to the benefits for employees, paid sick leave leads to less sick days for the overall workforce, less turnover, better use of preventive care, and higher workplace productivity.
Encourage Small Business Development and Growth
Small businesses improve the economy from the ground up, create new jobs, and build wealth at the community level. We must foster an environment that provides minor owned businesses with opportunities to be establish and grow that have been previously unattainable. Focused small business loans, access to capital for growth, technical assistance, and employee training support are on the Senate Democrat agenda.
Provide Incentives to Existing Businesses
Whether it’s to attract multi-national corporations or provide that last bit of financing for a mid-size company to grow, we must step up to provide the competitive advantage necessary for Pennsylvania to be business friendly. We have worked hard to make our tax climate more business friendly. We have provided many tax credits and exemptions to attract and retain companies. But we plan to do more to grow our business community.
Tax credits and grants to support the most critical sector of Pennsylvania’s past and future will ensure a productive economy supporting family sustaining jobs. Whether it making sure companies have the capital to grow or the pipeline to find skilled employees, we must make sure that the Commonwealth is doing all it can to support our manufacturing industry.
Stabilize and Grow Distressed Communities
Many of our cities and larger municipalities are continuing to struggle with budget deficits and debt, aging infrastructure, and stagnant economies. The Senate Democrats plans for the larger economy will go a long way toward turning these trends around. We will also help these communities fight blight by investing in demolition, rehabilitation, and rebuilding, providing technical assistance for budgeting and financing, providing local tax relief through property tax reform, and strengthen local school districts.
Provide Access to Affordable and Healthy Housing
The Pennsylvania Senate Democrats have consistently stood for the creation of affordable and accessible housing- safe, affordable housing is essential for families, for our communities, and for our commonwealth.
In the 2022-2023 fiscal budget, we successfully fought for transformative investments in housing in Pennsylvania using the federal American Rescue Plan Act. ARP dollars were allocated to increase the amount current participants receive through the state’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program. We will continue to fight for property tax reform, including expanding the number of Pennsylvanians who are eligible to benefit from the state’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program.
Tax Reform in Pennsylvania
Eliminating or Significantly Reducing Residential Property Taxes
Property taxes are antiquated, unfair, and in equitable. They are further a deterrent to people aging in the homes that they have worked throughout their lives to own. And they act as a disincentive to homeowners improving and maintaining their homes. The Senate Democrats have a plan to provide substantial property tax relief and eliminate the property taxes of 60% of homeowners by providing rebates. But as a caucus, we’re willing to talk about any plan that fairly eliminates residential and farmstead property taxes.
Recently, we successfully fought for a 2022-2023 fiscal budget that provided $140 million for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program. The additional funding was supported by American Rescue Plan dollars and provided an increase to current eligible applicants. While the increase was a win that went directly into the pockets of Pennsylvanians, Senate Democrats will continue to fight for further expansion for the program to include even more individuals.
Adopt the Fair Share Plan for the Personal Income Tax (PIT)
The PIT rate of 3.07% in Pennsylvania is among the lowest in the country in states that impose the tax. Included in paying the PIT are many businesses that have a structured as “pass-through entities.” The Senate Democrats have a “Fair Share” plan that will lower the PIT for individuals, while treating business or passive income differently. This will raise money, potentially to pay for property tax relief, reduce individual income tax bills, and tax business income more closely to corporate income.
Reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax and Eliminating Loopholes
In 2022, we passed a 2022-2023 fiscal budget that reduces Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income tax from 9.99% to 4.99%. The rate will be reduced 1% to tax year 2023, and .5% each year until it reaches 4.99% in tax year 2031.
Prior to the reduction, Pennsylvania had one of the highest corporate tax rates in the country. The tax cuts will make it more viable for companies to thrive in the commonwealth and attractive for both large and small businesses to set up shop in Pennsylvania.
Our Members at Work
Gov. Wolf, General Assembly Celebrate Critical Investments to Address Affordable Housing Crisis
Philadelphia, PA − August 12, 2022 − Today, Governor Tom Wolf was joined by members of the General Assembly, housing advocates and stakeholders in Philadelphia to celebrate the critical $375 million investment in the 2022-23 budget addressing the affordable...
Sen. Haywood Calls for Harrisburg Leaders to Raise the Minimum Wage
Harrisburg, PA – June 13, 2022 – Today, State Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) hosted a press conference with colleagues and advocates to demand Harrisburg politicians raise the minimum wage. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained stagnant for 13...
To honor Dr. King’s legacy, raise the minimum wage
OpEd by Senator John I. Kane
59 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He asked the audience of 250,000 how, a century after the end of slavery, Black Americans still “live[d] on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” For Dr. King, the protesters were at the capital to “cash a check”, and to finally make the promise of the American Dream a reality for everyone, regardless of the color of their skin.
Senator Tartaglione, Congressman Boyle Detail Efforts to Raise Minimum Wage for PA and Nation
Philadelphia, PA – January 27, 2021 – Pennsylvania’s minimum wage workers haven’t received a substantial pay raise in more than 14 years. Today, State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) and U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pennsylvania) detailed their efforts to raise the minimum wage for the Commonwealth and for the nation as new legislative sessions commence in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
PA Senate Democrats Hold Hearing on Raising the Minimum Wage for PA in Honor of MLK Day of Service
Harrisburg – January 18, 2021 - At the request of State Senators Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia), Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), and John Kane (D- Chester/Delaware) the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual public hearing on...
Senator Santarsiero Urges County, Township and School District to Reauthorize KOIZ, Paving Way for Job Creation in Falls Township
BUCKS COUNTY – December 17, 2020 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) is urging local elected officials to follow the state’s lead and act this month to bring thousands of new jobs to Lower Bucks County. Sen. Santarsiero said Bucks County, Falls Township...
Tartaglione Applauds New Overtime Regulations Granting 200,000 PA Workers Additional Protection
Philadelphia, PA – October 6, 2020 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione applauded new overtime rules published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin on October 3 that require all Pennsylvania employers to pay time-and-a-half wages to employees who earn less than $45,500 a year and who log more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Sen. Hughes announces bold, comprehensive plan to address Pa.’s affordable housing crisis through his New Deal for Housing initiative
PHILADELPHIA – January 16, 2020 – State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) unveiled a bold and aggressive plan to address the state’s affordable housing crisis, alongside members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus, more than 50 housing advocates, and concerned citizens today at the People’s Emergency Center in Philadelphia.
Senator Tartaglione Calls for Stronger Minimum Wage Legislation as Committee Advances $9.50 Plan
As a $9.50/hour minimum wage plan advanced in the Senate, the amended bill also included a moratorium on changes to PA’s outdated overtime pay rules. Philadelphia, PA, November 19, 2019 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) voted yesterday in favor of...
Sen. Hughes touts Act 76, which brings innovation to Pa. schools by changing “vocational-technical schools” to “career and technical schools”
HARRISBURG – October 30, 2019 – State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) praised Act 76 of 2019, which expands access to career and technical education and workforce development opportunities and takes the important step of changing...
Amazon Announces New Fulfillment Center in Findlay Township
Pittsburgh, PA − July 30, 2019 − Today, Senator Pam Iovino applauded and welcomed Amazon’s expansion into the 37th Senatorial District – a 1,000,000 square-foot non-sortable fulfillment center in Findlay Township, Allegheny County. The $30 million investment will bring to the 37th Senatorial District 800 full-time jobs with a starting wage of $15 per hour and comprehensive benefits.
Senators Maria Collett and Dan Laughlin Announce Legislation to Establish Statewide Family and Medical Leave Program
HARRISBURG - June 5, 2019- Senator Maria Collett (D-Montgomery/Bucks) and Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) held a press conference today to introduce their legislation, “The Family Care Act,” to establish a statewide Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program. Alongside...
Senator Haywood Completed Stop #4 on His State-Wide Poverty Listening Tour
PHILADELPHIA – May 30, 2019 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) was joined by State Senator Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland), and Public Policy Advocate of Just Harvest Ann Sanders on the fourth stop of his statewide poverty tour in...
Senator Haywood Completes Stop #2 on his State-Wide Poverty Listening Tour
PHILADELPHIA – May 24, 2019 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) was joined by State Senator Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery), State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and PA Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa...
Senator Haywood Starts State-Wide Poverty Listening Tour
PHILADELPHIA – May 23, 2019 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) was joined by State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) on the first stop of his statewide poverty tour in Lock Haven today. The 5-stop tour will consist of elected...
Legislation Would Provide Financial Incentives to Small Businesses
HARRISBURG – May 6, 2019 – With National Small Business Week (May 5- 11) now underway, state Sens. John Blake and Vincent J. Hughes today unveiled legislation that would create financial incentives to help small businesses succeed. One bill in the package would create...
PA Senate Dems to Host Facebook Live Townhall on Employee Protections and Economic Insecurity
HARRISBURG - April 9 ,2019 --- Senator Vincent Hughes will host a Facebook Live townhall to discuss the importance of employee protections in lifting workers out of economic insecurity. Senator Maria Collett and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Vice President Silas...
Sens. Hughes, Williams and POWER Interfaith Support Marriott Hotel Workers in Fight for Fair, Equitable Working Conditions
PHILADELPHIA– April 5, 2019 – Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Senator Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny) joined POWER Interfaith, UNITE HERE, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Raise the Wage PA, and other supporters of the Marriott hotel workers...
Senators Santarsiero and Collett Introduce Bill to Modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law
HARRISBURG, April 1, 2019 – On the eve of Equal Pay Day, Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) and Maria Collett (D-Bucks/Montgomery) issued a joint memorandum inviting fellow senators to join them in support of legislation that will...
Haywood Lauds State Treasurer Torsella’s Retirement Security Report
Philadelphia – March 28, 2019 – State Sen. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) yesterday applauded the findings of Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella’s Private Sector Retirement Security Task Force to establish a state-managed private retirement savings plan....