PA Taxes favor the wealthy

Study calls Pennsylvania taxes unfair to poor and middle class

From the Erie Times-News                Published: November 20. 2009 12:01AM

Working families in Pennsylvania pay a far higher share of their income in state and local taxes than their wealthiest counterparts, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy. 

In 2007, middle-class earners paid nearly double the share of their income in taxes than the very wealthiest Pennsylvanians. For minimum-wage earners, the share of family income spent on taxes was even larger. 

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Braddock group’s goal: Repeal closing of hospital

Group forms to save Braddock Hospital

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Protest at Braddock HospitalA working group of community leaders, elected officials and residents from the Braddock area convened last night at Heritage Health to discuss how the community might sway UPMC to reverse its decision to close the hospital there.

Since the hospital system announced the closing of UPMC Braddock, slated for Jan. 31, community members have mobilized efforts to change the hospital’s mind, starting last Thursday with a rally that drew a few hundred people.

The objective of the working group, facilitated by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, is two-pronged. Its first priority is to lobby UPMC against closing, and its second is to create a contingency plan should the hospital close.

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Pennsylvania and Illinois Faculty Unions Endorse HR 676

Pennsylvania and Illinois Faculty Unions Endorse HR 676

Two faculty unions affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA) have endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Legislative Assembly of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) voted overwhelmingly to endorse HR 676.  ASPCUF represents 6,000 faculty members at the fourteen public university campuses across Pennsylvania.  Seth Kahn, Grievance Chair at West Chester University, said:  “APSCUF recognizes the importance of single-payer healthcare for unions everywhere.  We are pleased to offer our strong endorsement.”

In Chicago, Illinois, the Executive Board of the Roosevelt University Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) also voted to endorse HR 676 reports LuAnn Swartzlander, RAFO President.  RAFO is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the NEA.

Bipartisan Revolt Passes Bill in House Finance Committee to Audit the Secretive Federal Reserve: Where did our money go?

Friday, Nov 20, 2009 04:21 PST

The Washington establishment suffers a serious defeat

By Glenn Greenwald

Something quite amazing happened yesterday in Congress:  the House Finance Committee — in a truly bipartisan and even trans-ideological vote — defied the banking industry, the Federal Reserve, the Democratic leadership, and mainstream Beltway opinion in order to pass an amendment, sponsored by GOP Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, mandating a genuine and probing audit of the Fed.  The Huffington Post‘s Ryan Grim has the best account of what took place, noting:  

In an unprecedented defeat for the Federal Reserve, an amendment to audit the multi-trillion dollar institution was approved by the House Finance Committee with an overwhelming and bipartisan 43-26 vote on Thursday afternoon despite harried last-minute lobbying from top Fed officials and the surprise opposition of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had previously been a supporter.

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Disappointed Altmire Supporters Meet to Discuss Alternatives

by Randy Shannon

November 22, 2009

A group of twenty-seven Democratic Party activists met on Saturday morning at the Shaler Township library to discuss their shared disappointment with 4th CD Blue Dog Congressman Jason Altmire. Activists attended the November 21st meeting from Sewickley, Murrysville, Avalon, Ohio Township, Indiana Township, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Ross, Westview, Shaler, McCandless, Franklin Park, and Plum.

Ms. Terry Hartnett of Avalon Borough, and a Democratic Committee member, started the meeting with a welcome and briefly described a smaller previous meeting at which activists discussed the possibility of running a progressive against Altmire in the upcoming primary election.

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Congressional Progressive Caucus will not support a weaker healthcare bill – Cong. Grijalva

Cong. Grijalva

Grijalva Emphasizes Health Care With Triggers, Opt-Out or Reproductive Restrictions Will Not Pass House
November 22, 2009


Washington, DC

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva [Friday] announced his continuing support for health care reform with a strong public option available as soon as possible to all Americans, emphasizing that a final bill containing triggers, state opt-out language or excessive restrictions on reproductive rights will be defeated in the House.

“The American people have made clear their support for an effective public option throughout this process, and now it’s time to give them one,” Grijalva said. “Further watering down an already weakened public insurance program, either out of misplaced political calculation or a misunderstanding of policy, would be a profound mistake. Voters, including political independents, continue to back a public option by a wide margin, and anyone standing in the way will be held accountable.”

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Senate Grovels before Insurance Lobbyists – Where is our democracy?

FDL Statement on Senate Combined Health Care Bill

By: Jane Hamsher Thursday November 19, 2009

It is encouraging that Senator Reid respected the will of the American people and included a public option in the merged Senate bill. However, the addition of a state opt-out provision threatens to leave millions of Americans at the mercy of private insurance monopolies, with the federal government acting as enforcers for a product with no competition to keep prices down.

The President set an arbitrary $900 billion 10-year price tag for the final bill. In order to comply with this, the Senate bill delays the ban on excluding people from coverage for pre-existing conditions until 2014. According to a study by the Harvard Medical School, nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, and it is estimated that medical costs contribute to 62% of all bankruptcies. This is a callous decision that has an enormous cost in human lives and untold suffering.

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Third Wednesday Protest for Healthcare not Warfare at Cong. Altmire’s Office Nov. 18th at Noon

Dear Friends,
Tomorrow is the 3rd Wed of the month. Progressive Democrats of America is starting up a brown bag lunch campaign throughout the country to let Congress people know how we feel about their actions.
We, as your local Progressive Democrats chapter, will be conducting a noontime protest at Congressman Altmire’s Aliquippa office at 2110 McLean Street. Please bring a brown bag lunch and join us at 12:00 noon. We will be letting Congressman Altmire know how displeased we are with his role in defeating healthcare reform. Please write your own letter, sign it and bring it to Congressman Altmire’s office with you.
If you can’t show up at noon, please drop the letter off at Altmire’s office sometime during the day tomorrow. His office is open from 9:00-5:30.
If you can’t drop it off in person, mail it tomorrow.
Congressman Jason Altmire
2110 McLean Street
Aliquippa, PA 15001
Tina B Shannon
Chairperson PA 4th CD Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America

Recession causes more families to go without food

Recession causes more families to go without food
Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: November 17, 2009 10:58:56 AM

WASHINGTON — The number of U.S. households that are struggling to feed their members jumped by 4 million to 17 million last year, as recession-fueled job losses and increased poverty and unemployment fueled a surge in hunger, a government survey reported Monday.

These “food-insecure” households represent about 49 million people and make up 14.6 percent, or more than one in seven, of all U.S. households. That’s the highest rate since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began monitoring the issue in 1995.

Additionally, more than one-third of these struggling families — some 6.7 million households, or 17.2 million people last year — had “very low food security,” in which food intake was reduced and eating patterns were disrupted for some family members because of a lack of food.

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