Jobs & Economy

The 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.

We must:

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 by July. That would add nearly $1 billion to the paychecks of working people and significantly boost economic activity in the state.

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.

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.

View more information on harassment prevention →

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.

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 our Children with the Tools to Maximize their Potential

Strategic investments in programs that will provide our children with the resources necessary to help ensure a bright future must be a priority.  Funding a statewide summer reading pilot program to ensure children read at grade level, establishing mentoring programs for kids as they transition from middle school to high school, and providing state resources for after-school programs focused on areas such as STEM education are all actions we can take to help our kids maximize their potential and lay the foundation for future success.

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.

Updating 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 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

Workers need a Pa. Workplace Freedom Act

The following op-ed was posted by

As expected, the Supreme Court voted against unions and working people in the Janus v. AFSCME case. This landmark decision makes it easier for anti-worker extremists to rig the economy and try to divide working people.
The outcome of the Janus case will harm public servants such as nurses, teachers, school district workers, police, firefighters and social workers, in addition to driving down wages for everyone, eliminating health insurance for many working families and making workplace accidents and deaths more likely.

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Boscola Announces Local $246,000 Machining Job Training Grant

Bethlehem, April 13, 2018 − State Sen. Lisa M. Boscola today announced a $246,000 state grant aimed at training Lehigh Valley workers for machining jobs in manufacturing plants. “I am excited about the growth and continued diversification of our economy,” Boscola...

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Sabatina: Apprenticeship Grants Approved for Philadelphia

Harrisburg, April 4, 2018 – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) announced apprenticeship grant funding has been approved for a variety of services and associations in his district. “These grants will continue to help individuals in our area receive the job training...

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Senator Yudichak Announces Apprenticeship Grants

Harrisburg, April 3, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Hershey Company, the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, and the Lehigh Carbon Community College have received funding to support pre-apprenticeship and registered...

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Boscola Announces Three Job Training Grants

Bethlehem, April 3, 2018 − State Sen. Lisa Boscola today announced three state grants aimed at supporting pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs. “I am a proud supporter of programs aimed at training workers for good jobs,” Boscola said. “These...

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Gender Diversity Encouraged Through Senate Resolution 255

Harrisburg, March 27, 2018 – Sponsored by Senator Judith L. Schwank (D-Berks County), the Executive Women’s Council of Pittsburgh (EWC) has been instrumental in bringing Senate Resolution 255 to the forefront. The Resolution, titled “Encouraging equitable and diverse...

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Farnese Applauds Funding for Two Developing Businesses

HARRISBURG, March 16, 2018 – Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) announced that Triple Bottom Brewing Company and Alliance HSP Philadelphia, two growing businesses in his district, have received grant and loan funding to support economic development projects in the...

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Blake: Budget Invests in Education, Supports Working Class

HARRISBURG, February 6, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed $32.987 billion state budget: “I applaud Governor Wolf for his continued dedication and investment in the...

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