Young Philly Politics - Progressive, Young, Philadelphia Politics, from Small to Big. en Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States <p><strong>By Chris Lilienthal, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>Working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in state and local taxes than the state’s wealthiest earners, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).</p> <p>Pennsylvania’s tax system scored so poorly that it made the list of the “Terrible 10” most regressive tax states in the nation.</p> <p>The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) co-released the report, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States</em></a>, with ITEP. PBPC Director Sharon Ward made the point in a <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a> that "No one would deliberately design a tax system where low-income working families pay the greatest share of their income in taxes, but that is exactly the type of upside-down tax system we have in Pennsylvania.”</p> <p>Middle-income families in Pennsylvania pay more than double the share of their income in taxes than the very wealthiest Pennsylvanians, while low-income families pay nearly three times as much as top earners, the report found. Get more details on the report, including a Pennsylvania fact sheet, <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><a title="Click for a larger view" href=""><img src="" alt="PA State &amp; Local Taxes: Shares of family income for non-elderly taxpayers" width="525" /></a></p> <p>The report should bury once and for all the myth of the makers vs. the takers. Low-income families in Pennsylvania are paying much more of their income in state and local taxes than the top 1%.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Low-income Families middle class Pennsylvania Regressive Taxes Tax Equity Taxes Fri, 01 Feb 2013 17:47:00 +0000 8568 at February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014 <p>Because the response to our workshop on January 14 exceeded our expectations, we are doing it again!</p> <p>Making A Difference!<br /> How You Can Strengthen Democracy in Philadelphia</p> <p>Come to this non-partisan training; learn how you can win one of these positions. Help strengthen women’s voices in our political process and protect the right to vote!</p> <p>HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013<br /> HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014</p> <p>When: Monday, February 4, 2013 from 5:30-7:30 pm<br /> Where: Community College of Philadelphia<br /> Winnet Student Life Building<br /> Lecture Hall S2-3<br /> 17th Street b/w Spring Garden and Callowhill Streets<br /> Philadelphia Pa 19130</p> <p>Speaker:<br /> Stephanie Singer, City Commissioner</p> <p>Running for committeeperson is a very easy entry point into electoral politics. You don’t need to raise money; you just need the time and willingness to talk to your neighbors. Running for committeeperson is a way to learn grassroots organizing skills, gain leadership experience, and learn how the political system works.</p> <p>Running for Election board is an opportunity to ensure that we have fair elections. The Voter ID law, which is slated to be implemented in 2013, has drawn attention to what has been a very low profile position—the Judge of Elections. In each division, the Judge of Elections resolves disputes and makes determinations about voter eligibility in areas where the law is ambiguous. With the enactment of the Voter ID law, the position of Judge of Elections has become much more important. The Majority and Minority inspectors also play an important role in ensuring fair, well-run elections.</p> <p>Sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Philadelphia Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and West Philadelphia Coalition of Neighborhoods and Businesses. </p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Thu, 31 Jan 2013 00:36:11 +0000 kbojar 8567 at The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated <p><strong>By Stephen Herzenberg, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>There's a good deal of crowing in conservative circles this week about the new 2012 numbers on union membership. Union membership nationally&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">fell by about 400,000, to 14.4 million</a>. Union membership in Pennsylvania <a href="" target="_blank">declined 45,000</a>, including 59,000 in the private sector.<br /><br />Of course, for anyone who cares about, say, the American Dream, democracy, and rising living standards, the newest numbers are bad news. A simple <a href="" target="_blank">chart put together by the Center for American Progress</a>&nbsp;shows that unions are vital to the middle class. As unions have weakened, so has the share of income going to middle-income workers&nbsp;—&nbsp;and the gap between the 1% and the 99% has mushroomed.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> democracy Income Inequality middle class Pennsylvania Unions Fri, 25 Jan 2013 21:50:56 +0000 8565 at Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor <p>From <a href="">Marc Stier at Large</a></p> <p>Barack Obama is back in office and moving in a liberal direction. So now it’s time to think ahead about building progressive power. The most important thing we can do in Pennsylvania is to replace Tom Corbett as Governor. So it’s a little surprising to me is that, with all the talk about this candidate or that, the one Pennsylvania politician who is best placed to defeat Governor Corbett, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, is not being asked by everyone to run. The main reason, I suspect, is that most people who pay close attention to politics don’t think she will do so. And some folks, for the usual reasons, have trouble getting their head around the idea of a woman as Governor. </p> <p>I have no inside knowledge about whether Congresswoman Schwartz is considering a race. But I strongly believe that she should run. After explaining why, I’ll come back to the issue of whether she will or not.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Allyson Schwartz Governor of Pennsylvania Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:09:25 +0000 Marc Stier 8564 at Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind <p><strong>By Michael Wood, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>Federal health care reform is moving forward thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year — and it is a <a href=";id=3801" target="_blank">great deal</a> for Pennsylvania. Unless the state decides to “opt out,” Medicaid coverage will be expanded to include many Pennsylvanians who are uninsured.</p> <p>One group that will benefit immediately are parents with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three). The benefits don’t end there: others who don’t receive health coverage through their work will be able to buy insurance on a competitive health marketplace or exchange — making coverage more affordable.</p> <p>However, if Governor Corbett prevents the Medicaid expansion, it will create a coverage gap for families between 46% and 100% of poverty, as the chart below shows (click on it for a larger view).</p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href=""><img src="" /></a></p> <p>Those families&nbsp;between 46% and 100% of poverty&nbsp;earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (for a family of three, this means earning over $8,781 but less than the federal poverty line of $19,090). <strong>These families won’t receive Medicaid coverage, and they won’t receive subsidies to buy health coverage.</strong></p> <p>We all benefit when more people have health coverage. Let’s make the right decision in Pennsylvania and expand Medicaid coverage.</p> Affordable Care Act health care Low-income Families Medicaid Pennsylvania Poverty Tue, 15 Jan 2013 14:57:05 +0000 8563 at PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact <p><strong>By Michael Wood, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>With a strong December showing, the commonwealth now has a <a href="" target="_blank">General Fund revenue surplus</a> of $171 million (1.4% above estimate) for the first half of the 2012-13 fiscal year,&nbsp;double the Corbett administration’s revised estimate for the entire fiscal year.&nbsp;The strong December collections exceeded&nbsp;estimate by $112 million (or 4.8%).</p> <p>The increased revenue is a good sign of a modestly recovering national economy and a brightening of the state’s fiscal picture going into the 2013-14 budget season. This is a nice change from previous years when midyear shortfalls triggered cuts to state services.</p> <p>In December, personal income, corporate, and realty transfer taxes exceeded revenue targets by 10.1%, with sales, inheritance and other taxes (on cigarettes, alcohol, and table games) falling short of expectations by 2.8%. &nbsp;</p> <p>A similar picture exists over the first half of 2012-13 — corporate, personal income and realty transfer tax collections are a combined 5% higher than expected, while sales, inheritance, and other taxes have fallen 2.4% short of budget estimates.</p> <p>One area of concern is that sales tax collections (the state’s second largest tax source) are $125 million, or 2.7%, lower than projected. It is not clear the reason for this as vehicle sales and consumer spending have been increasing. Perhaps the new tax collections from some online retailers may not be as large as anticipated.</p> <p>Compared to last year, collections are $583 million, or 5%, higher, with corporate ($254 million) and personal income tax ($186 million) collections making up most of the increase in 2012-13.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> budgets Pennsylvania Taxes Mon, 07 Jan 2013 14:51:36 +0000 8560 at What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal? <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p><em>Tell us what you think about the Fiscal Cliff deal.</em> <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Take our two-question survey.</em></a></p> <p>The agreement reached by President Obama and Congress on January 1 was both historic and disappointing&nbsp;—&nbsp;and it leaves much unsettled. The urgency of the Fiscal Cliff has dissipated, but significant threats remain to federal funding for state and local services as well as refundable tax credits for low-income working families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.</p> <p>There is much to dislike in this agreement. It makes permanent most of the Bush era tax cuts, ensuring that income from dividends and capital gains will be taxed at a lower rate than income from work. It makes permanent the estate tax but locks in a tax rate that creates a huge windfall for the top 0.3% of households.&nbsp;Sequestration cuts — the automatic spending cuts that members of both parties hated and the President said would not occur — have been postponed for two months, with three-quarters of FFY 2013 cuts ($85.6 billion) and $109 billion in annual cuts after that still in law through 2022.&nbsp;The President’s line in the sand on raising tax rates for the top 2% of earners got pushed way back, with top rates kicking in at $400,000 for an individual and $450,000 for a couple. A low-wage earner might need 20 years to make that much.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Federal Budget fiscal cliff Pennsylvania Tax Cuts Taxes Thu, 03 Jan 2013 21:06:37 +0000 8559 at Few in PA Would Be Affected by Ending High-income Tax Cuts <p><strong>By Sharon Ward, <a href="">Third and State</a></strong></p> <p>The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is out today with a <a href="" target="_blank">new analysis</a> finding that&nbsp;President Obama’s plan to end federal tax cuts for high-income earners would have very little impact on taxpayers in most Pennsylvania counties.</p> <p>In over half of the state's 67 counties, fewer than 1 in 100 residents (that's 1%) would pay the higher marginal tax rate on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.</p> <p>In most counties, only a small number of individuals are affected. In 24 counties, fewer than 200 high-income earners would pay the higher rate. Almost two-thirds of the top earners who would be impacted reside in just six Pennsylvania counties.</p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href=""><strong><img src="" alt="Map 1. Percentage of Taxpayers in Each PA County with Incomes Over $250,000" width="500" /></strong></a></p> <p><a title="Click to enlarge" href=""><strong><img src="" alt="Map 2. Number of Taxpayers in Each PA County with Incomes Over $250,000" width="500" /></strong></a></p> <p>Under President Obama’s plan, families earning over $250,000 would keep other tax breaks on the first $250,000 of income, including a lower bottom tax rate and preferential tax rates on capital gains and dividends — a savings of $12,112 per taxpayer. The top tax rates would be restored to those in effect in the 1990s when the nation added 23 million jobs.</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Bush Tax Cuts Federal Budget fiscal cliff Pennsylvania Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:04:24 +0000 8558 at CITY COUNCILS CALL ON PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO AVOID CUTTING SERVICES <p> As the federal government faces major decisions regarding our nation’s budget and fiscal policies, cities around the country are passing resolutions calling on the President and Congress to prioritize the revitalization of the economy, the creation of millions of new jobs, and a return to broadly-shared prosperity. </p> <p>Led by members of Local Progress, the new national municipal policy network, over the past two weeks the cities of Baltimore, Cambridge, Chicago, Hallandale Beach, Philadelphia, New York, Seattle, and Yonkers have signaled their official support for a solution that avoids cuts to vital services for the most disadvantaged members of society or to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits and that raises crucial revenue from the wealthiest two percent of Americans. </p> <p>“Unwise cuts to federal spending inevitably shift costs onto states and municipalities, which, unlike the federal government, cannot cope with them through deficit spending,” said Joe Moore, a Chicago City Council Alderman. “Cuts to funding for housing, community development, public health, and public safety will deprive millions of poor Americans of basic necessities like food, medicine, and a home in a safe community.” The resolution introduced by Moore was supported by all 50 Aldermen. </p> <p>“The American economy continues its slow and inadequate recovery from the Great Recession; twenty million people want to work full time but cannot; and a weak economy undermines the nation’s social fabric and deprives future generations of the opportunity to live rich and fulfilling lives,” said Chuck Lesnick, the Yonkers City Council President. “We need growth, not austerity.” </p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Fiscal Cliff Local Progress Councilman Wilson Goode Tue, 18 Dec 2012 14:07:22 +0000 Councilman Goode 8556 at First Step to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff: Close Offshore Tax Loopholes <p>For Immediate Release:</p> <p>Thursday, December 6 2012</p> <p>Contact:</p> <p>Angela Lee, PennPIRG Program Associate</p> <p>215-735-9760; <a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>First Step to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff: Close Offshore Tax Loopholes</strong><br /> <strong>Offshore Tax Dodging Costs U.S. $150 Billion Annually; Groups Illustrate Impact with 16 Dramatic Ways Lost Revenue Could Be Used</strong></p> <p>PHILADELPHIA, December 6th – With Congress scrambling to agree on ways to reduce the deficit, PennPIRG joined with small business owners and student groups today to point out a clear first step to avoid the “fiscal cliff”: closing offshore tax loopholes. Many of America’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals use accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. This tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue each year. PennPIRG released new data illustrating the size of this loss with 16 dramatic ways $150 billion could be spent.</p> <p>“When corporations skip out on their taxes, the rest of us are left to pick up their tab,” said Angela Lee, state advocate for PennPIRG. “Right now, this kind of tax dodging is perfectly legal, but it’s not fair and it’s time to put an end to it.”</p> <p><a href="">read more</a></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 18:09:24 +0000 PennPIRG 8554 at