The Update: What’s Important in Harrisburg & D.C. – June 28, 2021

This week greets us with profound disappointment. When handed the opportunity to potentially transform the lives of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who have been devastated by the COVID pandemic, the PA Legislature has chosen the status quo. The leaders of the Legislature decided that it’s more important to save for potential deficits in the future than to restore the lives of people who lost their jobs, lost their businesses, lost their homes and in many cases, lost loved ones to COVID.

And, in the process of creating the budget, the Legislature rescinded a new overtime regulation that would have given a well-deserved raise to nearly 200,000 exploited Pennsylvania salaried employees. Take a look at our analysis below and take action to save the overtime rules. Working people deserve better than this budget deal.


Stephen Herzenberg
Executive Director



Memo: The Budget No One Wants

The General Assembly has roughly $10 billion that could—and should—be used to help those whose lives have been most disrupted by the pandemic and to take major steps towards creating a more just and inclusive economy.

Yet with all these problems—and the obvious need to provide hazard pay to front-line workers and relief to local businesses, those who may face housing eviction and mortgage foreclosure, and others who are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic—the legislative majority has set aside $6 billion or more of the funding, unspent.

Read more.

This Is What Permanent ARP Tax Credit Changes Would Do for Pennsylvanians

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) has made significant changes to federal tax policy by expanding and strengthening the child tax credit (CTC) and the earned income tax credit (EITC). President Biden’s American Families Plan (AFP) proposal would permanently extend these changes. Here is why that is a good idea.

Read more.

Why You Get Hurt When Your Neighbors’ Unemployment Benefits Get Cut

Actions that scale back buying power that the economy needs for a strong recovery, such as slashing unemployment benefits, hurt not just the workers who lose income—or who are coerced into taking a low-wage job that fails to capitalize on their skills and experience—but other working families and small businesses. That’s because cutting unemployment benefits reduces consumer demand and extends joblessness further into the future. As in the “jobless recoveries” of the early 2000s and after the Great Recession, years of slow job growth would mean years of little or no wage growth for middle- and lower-wage workers generally. That is why you get hurt when your neighbors’ unemployment benefits get cut.

Read more.



Protect Overtime for Full-Time Workers

There is an URGENT need to call Governor Wolf to ask him to continue to stand with Pennsylvania workers and veto the recently-passed administrative code that would eliminate overtime protections for 190,000 lower-paid and often exploited salary workers.

Pennsylvania’s legislative majority buried the elimination of a new PA regulation inside the administrative code bill that passed with the state budget last Friday, June 25th. The recently passed and highly celebrated regulation they are seeking to eliminate restores the 40-hour workweek and strengthens overtime protections for 190,000 lower-paid PA workers.

Please call Governor Wolf NOW to tell him to veto the administrative code that repeals the new overtime regulations:

You can also send an email by clicking here.



Permanent Child Tax Credit Would Take Pennsylvania Children Out of Poverty

The Keystone

“If the expanded Child Tax Credit was made permanent, Pennsylvania would see a 43% reduction in child poverty every year and more than 2.3 million children would benefit.”

Final days before Pa. state budget is due; We The People rally for funds

ABC 27

“A group called ‘We The People’ asked lawmakers to properly fund public schools and higher education and help lower-income citizens who have really struggled through the pandemic. The feds are sending more than $7 billion to PA and the State is $3 billion ahead of projections. The group says the extra money could fix a lot of what is broken.”

Pa. lawmakers wrestle over schools, coronavirus money in state budget talks

Penn Live / Patriot-News

“’The Pennsylvania House Democrats are fighting very hard to make sure we fairly fund the schools with the $3 billion dollar surplus,” said House minority leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia. “Additionally, making efforts to work on hazard pay for our front-line workers with the $7 billion in CARES money.’”

Pennsylvania is debating: horses or students?

The Plaid Horse

“A new report, published by Education Voters of Pennsylvania, points the finger again at that $3 billion public money. A senior policy analyst for the organization, Sharon Ward, was quoted by the BBC as saying: “It’s time for the industry to stand on its own two feet.” Ward painted a very critical picture of horse racing: ‘The bottom line is this: Hidden behind the lore and pageantry of horse racing is a crumbling industry, propped up with funds that have been robbed from our young people.’”


The Keystone Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that promotes a more prosperous and equitable Pennsylvania economy. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a nonpartisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget, and related policy matters with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.