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
The old adage that a rising tide lifts all ships still holds true. 800,000 Pennsylvanians would see an increase in their paychecks if a modest increase from $7.25 to $9.00 was made in 2020. That would add nearly $1 billion to the paychecks of working people and significantly boost economic activity in the state.
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.
Invest in Employees
Under our plans the state will provide programs and training to improve the income and
conditions of workers. Customized job training, connecting community colleges and technical schools with employers, improving worker investment board resources, creating career readiness councils are at the top of our agenda. With unemployment at all-time lows, it is time for all Pennsylvanian’s to benefit from the improving economy. Bettering paychecks, benefits, and working environment is at the heart of the Senate Democrats priorities.
→ Providing access to high quality child care will go a long way to providing parents job opportunities that may be unmanageable otherwise. Our caucus is advocating for $77 million to be added to the state appropriation for highquality child care services to provide access to 5,000 additional eligible infants and toddlers.
→ Availability of high-quality public transit provides access to hirer paying jobs, increases worker productivity, and protects family budgets by reducing vehicle and transportation costs. When coupled with transit-oriented development (development occurring within a ½ miles of transit access) transit reduces traffic, infrastructure costs, and improves local efficiency. The Senate Democrats are ardent supporters of state funding for regional mass transit systems.
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.
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.
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 Democrat have consistently stood for the creation of affordable and accessible housing. We’ve successfully fought for the creation and increase of funding to the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability Trust Fund. Additionally, we are pushing for a state low-income housing tax credit to improve the impact of the existing and successful federal credit. In Pennsylvania, for every $10 million in affordable housing construction, it will generate $19.6 million in total economic impact and support 110 jobs. With an economic multiplier effect of nearly 2 and the jobs supported, the impact of building and renovating affordable housing is important to the Pennsylvania economy. Nobody likes paying taxes, but they reflect the public investments we have chosen to make through the democratic process. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve the tax environment in the state and at the local level. At the top of that list are property taxes. But opportunities for improvement exist throughout the tax code to make the business climate better, lessen the burden on working people, and provide families with more money in their pockets
Nobody likes paying taxes, but they reflect the public investments we have chosen to make through the democratic process. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve the tax environment in the state and at the local level. At the top of that list are property taxes. But opportunities for improvement exist throughout the tax code to make the business climate better, lessen the burden on working people, and provide families with more money in their pockets.
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.
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
Unlike the PIT, at 9.99%, Pennsylvania has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the country. But our tax code is riddled with loopholes, exemptions, tax credits, and deductions that could all be used to reduce the tax rate and provide a level playing field for all businesses, rather than just those that have the lobbying strength to get special treatment. Plans exist to cut the rate by 30 or 40 percent but not reduce state revenue, including closing the so-called “Delaware Loophole”. This is a fair path forward that the business community should embrace.
Our Members at Work
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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....
HARRISBURG -March 18, 2019 - Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Senator Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery) today introduced Senate Bill 13 aiming to provide mandatory paid sick leave to all Pennsylvania workers. SB 13 would create the...
PITTSBURGH - March 14, 2019 - Senators Lindsey M. Williams, Jay Costa, and Vincent J. Hughes, joined by local elected officials, Allegheny County Labor Council members, and a crowd of union workers, announced the introduction of the Workplace Freedom Act today at the...
PHILADELPHIA, February 8, 2019 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf led a coalition of elected officials, labor leaders, worker advocates, and commuters at the bustling Frankford Transportation Center today to rally...
Senator Haywood and Community Sponsors Host Raise the Wage Rally at McDonald’s to Advocate for Minimum Wage Increase
PHILADELPHIA – January 22, 2019 – On Martin Luther King Day, State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) joined community sponsors POWER, the Unitarian Society of Germantown, Raise the Wage PA!, activists, and advocates for a Raise the Wage Rally. To...