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.
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.
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 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
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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....read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
HARRISBURG, January 11, 2019 – Three Democratic state senators today announced a comprehensive package of legislation aimed at sparking a rapid and sustained expansion of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector. State Sens. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland),...read more
HARRISBURG, January 10, 2019 – On behalf of the 12,000 Pennsylvania federal employees, contractors and subcontractors who are not receiving a paycheck during the partial federal government shutdown, Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery), Senator...read more
PHILADELPHIA, December 12, 2018 – At the request of state Senator Anthony H. Williams (D-Phila./Delaware), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee today held a hearing in Philadelphia on the senator’s proposal to do away with the cosmetology school licensing...read more
The following op-ed was posted by PennLive.com.
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.
Tartaglione Applauds Governor’s Executive Order Raising the Minimum Wage for State Employees, Contractors
PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 28, 2018 – State Sen. Christine Tartaglione applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s signing of an executive order today that raises the minimum wage for state employees and contractors to a level matching the provisions of legislation introduced by...read more
Senator Hughes thanks Gov. Wolf for working to keep AmerisourceBergen in Montgomery County, which will bring than more 550 new jobs to the area
HARRISBURG – June 7, 2018 – State Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) thanked Gov. Tom Wolf and the Borough of Conshohocken for helping keep AmerisourceBergen in Montgomery County and prioritizing jobs for the 7th District. AmerisourceBergen, a...read more
Hughes, Blake sponsor legislation to create financial incentives Harrisburg – June 7, 2018 – New legislation designed to aid small business through specific financial incentives such as tax-deferred savings accounts and exemptions from certain business fees was...read more
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...read more
Harrisburg -- April 4, 2018 – Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) announced that six local organizations have received grant funding to improve and expand their apprenticeship programs and services. “These grants are a great investment in the possibilities of...read more