Congresswoman Wild, The 99% PA Campaign, Local Electeds, call for Billionaires’ Tax to Help Working Families

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MONDAY at 930AM EST, on tax day, the Pennsylvania  Budget and Policy Center’s 99% PA campaign, in partnership with Congresswoman Susan Wild, Representative Mike Schlossberg, and Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds, will hold a press conference on the proposed billionaires’ income tax and how it would help Pennsylvanians by cutting costs for healthcare, education, childcare, and more.

  • This Tax Day, working families are paying their fair share of taxes but American billionaires are not.
  • Billionaires have gotten $2 trillion, or 70%, richer over the first two years of the pandemic. But because of a big tax loophole, many of them have paid little if any federal income taxes on those investment gains, unlike working families who pay taxes in each paycheck.
  • Congress needs to close that loophole by passing a billionaires income tax like that proposed by President Biden. It would make billionaires pay closer to their fair share of taxes like the rest of us do. And the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be raised can be used to help working families afford healthcare, childcare, housing, and education.

Read the national Billionaires’ report here.

WHO: Jeff Garis, 99% PA Campaign; Congresswoman Susan Wild; Representative Mike Schlossberg; Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds

WHAT: Press conference on proposed Billionaires’ Tax Plan and its effects on Pennsylvanians and Lehigh Valley residents


WHERE: Payrow Plaza, 10 East Church Street (outside), Bethlehem, PA; rain location TBA

Pittsburgh Budget & Policy Center Releases Brief on how Gainey Administration Can Meet City’s Revenue Needs

Calls for fairly raising recurring revenue from city’s rich and from city’s largest employer; sustainable solutions for long term

Pittsburgh, PA— Today at a virtual press conference ahead of tax day, the Pittsburgh Budget and Policy Center held a press briefing to unveil new research that provides a path forward for the Gainey administration and Pittsburgh City Council to fairly raise recurring revenue in the coming year including from Pittsburgh income taxes without needing any new legislation.

Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director, Keystone Research Center began the conference by saying, “Enacting fairer taxation gives the new Gainey Administration a golden opportunity for a signature first-year initiative and can serve as a foundation for the more equitable Pittsburgh that the new mayor seeks.”

Nthando Thandiwe, Budget and Policy Analyst, Pittsburgh Budget and Policy Center, added,  “Pittsburgh has the authority to enact fairer taxation, allowing the city to generate additional revenue to invest in affordable housing, job creation, and safe communities.”

The new brief finds that:

·       Pittsburgh currently has an unfair, or “upside-down,” tax system that takes a larger share of income from lower-income and working families than it does the rich. This reflects the regressive nature of the city property and sales taxes. It also stems from city and school district income taxes that fall primarily on wages but not on most kinds of income received largely by the rich—such as dividends and capital gains.

Pittsburgh BPC put forward two different ways the city could create a more “right side up” tax system and raise as much as $100 million in recurring revenue each year.

·       First, by taxing more of the income received by the rich—such as dividends and capital gains—and doing so at twice the tax rate on wages, the city could raise as much as $57 million each year, largely from the richest fifth of families in the city.

o   A legal memo in an appendix to the Pittsburgh BPC brief shows that Pittsburgh has the authority already to enact a fairer city and school district income tax—no new legislation is required from Harrisburg.

·       Second, Pittsburgh could seek to get the city’s largest anchor “non-profits”—starting with UPMC—to contribute to city revenues.

o   UPMC currently avoids at least $50 million in Pittsburgh taxes each year by claiming it is a “purely public charity.” The city and Allegheny County both questioned under Mayor Ravenstahl whether UPMC meets the state legal tests required for this tax-exempt status.

o     UPMC in 2021 had excess revenue of $1.5 billion, up from $420 million in 2019.

o     UPMC paid its president and CEO in 2020 $9.5 million, 115 times the pay of the average UPMC employee.

o     In at least four Pennsylvania communities, UPMC already makes Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) equal to 40% to 55% of what it would owe in taxes without its “purely public charity” exemption.

If Pittsburgh acts now, it can secure more revenues from fair taxation by the time ARP funds expire. The knowledge that Pittsburgh has ways to raise additional revenues fairly should embolden the city to use its ARP revenues to address structural inequalities and racism, including by investing in more affordable housing and in job-creation programs that enable more jobless workers and people of color to access family-supporting careers.

We can’t thank you enough- YOUR ACTIONS STOPPED TABOR!

A quick note to share that because of your efforts, OVER 2,000 LETTERS were sent to lawmakers telling them how you feel about the disaster that is TABOR, and YOU STOPPED IT IN ITS TRACKS.

Your response to our online action effectively stalled the movement of the proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Progressive legislators are grateful for your efforts and shared with us that we collectively made a difference.

As always, thank you for trusting us to keep you informed of policies and actions that affect the citizens of our Commonwealth- we appreciate your support!

In solidarity,

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

The 99% Pennsylvania is a campaign of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, focused on advancing federal policies that will benefit the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians. Ali Feldman is the federal organizing associate for the campaign.

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