Welcome, We The People-PA activists, advocates, and supporters to another edition of our biweekly eBlast! We bring you legislative news from the federal and state levels and ways to get involved!
Special Note: Thanks to your actions, MORE THAN 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. You can read more about TABOR below.
- When the federal eviction moratorium expired, between 39,000 – 78,000 Pennsylvania families were at risk of losing their homes. A new report by the Keystone Research Center and the PA Budget & Policy Center outlines how eviction prevention & rent relief helped to keep families in their homes and off the streets, and recommends expanding eviction mitigation programs, and establishing a permanent rental assistance fund.
- Pennsylvania’s families and economy are currently dealing with rising prices that are the result of the supply chain issues created by an unexpectedly quick economic recovery and the rise in gas prices created by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Pennsylvania will have an accumulated surplus of $10.2 billion at the end of the current fiscal year, and there’s a few thoughts on how we could utilize that funding to help offset the temporary increase in the cost of gas. Read more: “Use ARP Funds to Help with High Gas Prices.”
- Senators voted 37-12, a potentially veto-proof margin, to prohibit the types of grants issued during the 2020 election. The vote against drop boxes was down party lines, 29-20. Those bills were sent to the House, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s spokesperson said he opposes both measures.
- The Pennsylvania House has passed a veto-bound bill (HB-972) banning transgender girls and young women from competing on school sports teams in line with their gender. The Pennsylvania Senate has introduced a companion bill, SB-1191. Governor Wolf has promised a veto, but the mere introduction and discussion of this bill causes harm to PA kids.
- We put out an alert on Tuesday, and in the past three days over nine hundred of you took action and thanks to you, we stopped TABOR in it’s tracks! TABOR is a proposed constitutional amendment, which has been championed in states all over the country by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. If passed, it would have put the state budget in a constitutional stranglehold, making it impossible for the state to EVER fully fund education, higher education, human services, infrastructure or environmental and climate polices.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of a program under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals’ and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping them to stay financially solvent in the long term. The new program will invest $43M. Awardees include 93 rural health care organizations and community groups across 22 states.
ProPublica’s latest exposé of inequitable taxation shows thatthe 400 most lavishly paid people in the U.S. don’t pay the highest income tax rates—a finding that progressives say demonstrates the need to overhaul the nation’s tax code and make the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share.
President Joe Biden met with the congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus, making him the first president in history to do so since the Caucus was founded fourteen years ago.
The PA Budget & Policy Center’s 99% PA campaign, along with Americans for Tax Fairness, Healthcare Action Network, and PA Health Access Network, invite you to a press conference on Tax Day, Monday, April 18, at 9:30 AM with Rep. Susan Wild and Bethlehem’s Mayor Reynolds at Payrow Plaza in Bethlehem, PA. We will focus on President Biden’s Billionaires Income Tax and the ways the money would help Pennsylvanians. We will also be releasing a Pennsylvania billionaires’ wealth report prepared by Americans for Tax Fairness, which documents the significant increase in wealth of Pennsylvania’s 17 billionaires during the pandemic and the extremely low federal taxes paid by most billionaires. This event will be livestreamed: https://www.facebook.com/The99PercentPA.
“Pandemic worsened Pennsylvania’s affordable rental housing crisis” – Pennsylvania Business Report
The PA Budget & Policy Center shared its findings at the Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday and discussed the need for affordable housing. It recommends things such as the legislature creating a more permanent rental assistance program. “The two main takeaways are that eviction mitigation is working to keep people in their homes, and it should be expanded, and a permanent rental assistance fund is needed in the state for the large numbers of cost-burdened families in Pennsylvania,” said Kehinde Akande, policy fellow at the PA Budget and Policy Center and one of the report’s authors.
“PA lawmakers urged to invest federal relief money in working families” –NorthCentralPA.com
Nick Pressley, director of campaigns for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, said investing federal aid directly with working families would help the state’s economy continue to recover from the pandemic. “The best way to help Pennsylvania families and small businesses,” he said, “is to send them direct checks to help offset the costs that are coming as a result of an economic recovery that was faster than expected.” “PA Lawmakers Urged to Invest Federal Relief Money in Working Families” – BCTV / Keystone State News Connection
“The record is very clear,” Nick Pressley said. “When gas taxes go down, wealthy oil companies do not reduce prices at the pump at the same rate, if at all.”
As we sign off on the latest edition of the WTP-PA biweekly eBlast, we appreciate the support and hard work that you all do in your own areas every single day. We hope to see you at one of our Community Conversations!
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