Exploiting People Down on Their Luck To Make A Buck

The House Commerce Committee is set to vote on June 17th on SB 622 the Debt Settlement Services Act.  This legislation covers the licensing and regulation of debt settlement companies in Pennsylvania. 

Debt settlement services run television commercials in which companies with comforting names that include words like free, freedom, and relief offer consumers a chance to cut their debt by up to 50%!

Pittsburgh Again on the Forefront of Labor Innovation to Build the Next Middle Class

WESA in Pittsburgh has a radio feature airing today on union organizing among contingent faculty in higher education. It includes some excerpts from an interview with me. You can listen to it and access a transcript here.

Seattle has adopted a city minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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As you may have heard by now, Seattle has adopted a city minimum wage of $15 an hour. As with all minimum wage increases, this one will be phased in over three to seven years depending on the size of the business

Arindrajit Dube, a rising star in labor economics has an excellent editorial on the proposal that I would encourage you all to read.

More Bark than Bite: Feds Back Pennsylvania's Gross Receipts Tax after Inspector General Report

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CMS Is Not Asking for Its Money Back

A report issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Pennsylvania’s tax on Medicaid managed care services has a relatively sensational title. But the reality is the federal government is not going to force Pennsylvania to eliminate its Gross Receipts Tax (GRT), or even modify it, anytime soon.

Four Actuaries and a Pension Plan: Tobash Plan Is a Non-Starter

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Last week, the Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) released a cover memo and reports from four actuaries analyzing the newest public pension proposal championed by Governor Corbett, one put forward by Rep. Mike Tobash. We put out a press release and brief on this proposal Monday.

Is yet another vehicle to expand payday lending in the hopper in Harrisburg?

First there was HB2191 in 2012, followed by SB975 in 2013 and now Senator Jake Corman is soliciting his colleagues for co-sponsorship of a bill that would create a “90 Day Consumer Loan Program”.  With short term lending products the devil is always in the details and we don’t yet have the language of the bill.  

Minimum wage increases didn’t hurt job growth in other states; it’s time for PA to join the club

Last week, Michigan passed a bill to increase its minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.25 an hour over the next four years. Michigan is the seventh state, in addition to D.C., to legislate a minimum wage increase thus far in 2014. Additionally, as of yesterday, 22 states across the country, including all six of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states, have a wage floor higher than the national level of $7.25 per hour. Support for raising the minimum wage is building among Pennsylvanias so that our workers are not left even further behind.

An update on the campaign to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania

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Here is a quick audio update (mp3) on the campaign to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania.

Those of you that prefer not to hear my voice can read the update here.

Policy Matters: Piketty and "Two Critical Realignments" in One Graph

Our friend Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project runs a website called The Telltale Chart. As the name implies, he loves charts.

Colin's outdone himself today on the blog of the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) with what he calls "Piketty in one graph."

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