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Allentown, PA—Last evening, the 99% Pennsylvania campaign hosted a rally in Allentown, co-sponsored by For Our Future PA, Protect Our Care, ReImagine Appalachia, and Tax March, which included projecting the messages “Build Back Better” and “Tax the Rich” onto the side of the PPL building at 9th & Hamilton Streets. Representatives of the co-sponsoring organizations and rally attendees raised their voices to clearly deliver the message, “Build Back Better! Tax the Rich!”
Congresswoman Susan Wild, who represents Allentown and the entire Lehigh Valley in the US House of Representatives, was unable to attend, but she sent a statement of support, which was read aloud during the event:
“It is long past time to strengthen our economy by ensuring that everyone, including those at the very top, pays their fair share in taxes. Tax fairness isn’t just broadly popular among the American people, it would level the playing field for small business owners and help pay for much-needed investments into middle-class families, helping create jobs and strengthen our economic recovery. I am proud to fight for these needed reforms.”
The Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center’s director Marc Stier read the congresswoman’s statement at the rally, noting that, “Representative Wild isn’t just doing the right thing; she’s doing something that’s enormously popular with Pennsylvanians.” Stier added, “This is an enormously popular plan. We’ve got to get Congress to pass it, and we’re very grateful to Rep. Susan Wild for being supportive of it.”
Jeff Garis, the coordinator of the 99% Pennsylvania campaign, began the rally by saying, “For more than 40 years, tax policy in this country has been disproportionately favorable to the wealthy. That is why we have watched wages stagnate for most workers, while the billionaires become wealthier and pay far less as a share of their income than the rest of us do.” Garis continued, saying, “It’s time for them to pay their fair share because we have this opportunity to make a historic investment in the Build Back Better agenda.”
Health care provisions in the Build Back Better package were highlighted by Michael Berman, the state coordinator of Protect Our Care. “President Biden’s Build Back Better proposal includes driving down prescription drug prices, expanding Medicare benefits to include vision dental, & hearing, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, and dramatically lowering the cost of health insurance for millions of Americans,” said Berman. “In the next few weeks, lawmakers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve health care for American families, across the nation. I want to compliment Susan Wild for her fight to make sure that all of the healthcare provisions stay in the Build BB legislation.”
Megan Kocher, For Our Future Pennsylvania’s field director for the region, identified several of the components of Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last month that will provide much-needed support for area families. “The infrastructure plan would put millions of Americans to work, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – roads and bridges – laying new broadband lines, and building the energy grid of the future,” said Kocher. “The reconciliation bill could help level the playing field for working families in a host of ways, including providing paid family and medical leave, lowering energy bills, and making essentials affordable, like healthcare, prescription drugs, childcare, pre-K, college, and long-term care for the elderly.”
Stephen Herzenberg, the executive director of the Keystone Research Center (KRC), spoke about the priorities of ReImagine Appalachia, a 4-state campaign convened by KRC. “For too long, big corporations have held wages down and cut corners, putting too many of our families at risk, dividing our communities, and exploiting our resources, including coal in northeast Pennsylvania, now left behind as abandoned mine lands,” Herzenberg said. “Build Back Better will create a new Civilian Conservation Corps that puts additional thousands to work planting trees, restoring wetlands, and assisting farmers to adopt healthy agricultural practices that absorb more carbon. Thank you to Sen. Bob Casey for sponsoring the best civilian conservation corps bill and to Lehigh Valley representative Susan Wild for cosponsoring the House companion bill to the Casey legislation.”
The event concluded with the crowd chanting, “Build Back Better! Tax the Rich!”
Video of the rally can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/BBBVideo-Allentown09142021.
Photos of the rally can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/BBBPhotos-Allentown09142021.