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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.

Investing in Pennsylvania to Support Healthcare and Care Workers
Investing in PA to Build our Economy

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.

Incentivize Manufacturing

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.

American Rescue Plan Investment - $140 M to increase property tax and rent rebate payments to homeowners and renters
Investing to Fight Blight and Increase Housing Stability in Pennsylvania

Tax Reform in Pennsylvania

Senator Lisa Boscola on Tax Relief in PA

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

To honor Dr. King’s legacy, raise the minimum wage

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.

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Senator Tartaglione, Congressman Boyle Detail Efforts to Raise Minimum Wage for PA and Nation

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.

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Sen. Hughes announces bold, comprehensive plan to address Pa.’s affordable housing crisis through his New Deal for Housing initiative

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.

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Amazon Announces New Fulfillment Center in Findlay Township

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.

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Senator Haywood Starts State-Wide Poverty Listening Tour

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...

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