Income gaps widened in Pennsylvania between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s with earnings for low-income families dropping as the income of the wealthiest continued to increase, according to a new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute.
New Census data show that poverty rates remained high in Pennsylvania last year, reflecting the ongoing impact of the recession and underscoring the need for state policymakers to do more to lift up struggling families.
New Census data offer a mix of good and bad news. The share of Americans without health insurance declined, but the middle class continues to struggle in the wake of the recession and the acceleration of income inequality.
Pennsylvania ended cash assistance today for very poor residents who cannot work and don’t qualify for other assistance, joining many other states that have scaled back or eliminated their General Assistance programs even as the need has grown.
Eliminating General Assistance will save $160 million, but cost much more as thousands of Pennsylvanians turn to homeless shelters, emergency room services, fire and police – all at significantly greater cost.
On WITF's Radio Smart Talk, Sharon Ward said than taking away health care from children or jeopardizing the nursing care of seniors, policymakers should look at alternatives, including closing tax loopholes and ending corporate welfare.
“The Commonwealth Foundation has spotted Bigfoot in the state Department of Public Welfare," Sharon Ward says in a statement responding to a new report. "In other words, they are seeing something that just isn’t there."
Businesses that don’t invest become less competitive. It’s the same for our state. Only by investing in our schools, roads, workforce and other assets and lifting people out of poverty will we enjoy a more prosperous future. Read Sharon Ward's op-ed on reducing poverty originally published in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.