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Budget Summit


By Press Release


CONTACT: Kirstin Snow,



Pennsylvanians Together, Partners Hold Rally to Demand Tax Justice in PA NOW!

12-Foot Inflatable Corporate Fat Cat, ‘Mr. Riggs’ Made Appearance in Capitol

Harrisburg, PA—Today in the Capitol Rotunda, Pennsylvania Policy Center’s Pennsylvanians Together campaign and partners, including SEIU, CASA, Action Together NEPA, Make the Road, and others from across the Commonwealth joined together for a rally to call upon lawmakers to right the state’s upside-down tax system and demand tax justice NOW!

Pennsylvania has THE MOST unfair tax structure in the country. And now—budget season—is the time to demand a fair share tax plan to pay for the things working families need to not just survive but thrive—things like a fully and equitably funded education for our kids, affordable housing, and a livable minimum wage.

Mr. Riggs, the 12-foot inflatable corporate fat cat, was in attendance, joined by partners and scores of activists from across the state, along with speakers:

  • Marc Stier, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Policy Center
  • Dwayne Heisler, Campaigns Director, Pennsylvanians Together
  • Jody Weinrich, SEIU / PA Joint Board
  • Senator Art Haywood (D)
  • Angelo Ortega, Make the Road PA
  • Hillary Rothrock, SEIU HCPA, United Home Care Workers
  • Daniel Alvalle, CASA
  • Jessica Britain, Action Together, NEPA


Marc Stier: “Pennsylvanians Together is here at the state Capitol today to call for economic justice now and in the future. In the short term, we call for using the $14 billion state surplus to fund the first few years of the seven-year plan to fund k-12 education fully and fairly. In the long term, we call for ensuring that wealthy individuals and multinational corporations pay their fair share of taxes. That would give us the revenue we need to fund the whole K-12 plan as well as make the investments in workforce training and higher education we need to create opportunity and prosperity for all.”

Senator Haywood: “Our tax system is rigged against us. Reducing taxation on everyday people and making the rich pay their fair share is the first step toward fairness.”

Dwayne Heisler: “The Pennsylvanians Together campaign works to ensure that all Pennsylvanians can thrive—not just survive. For too long, we’ve let politicians, who serve the interests of corporations, and the rich divide us based on what we look like, where we come from, where we worship, how much money we have or whether we are native-born or immigrants. By dividing us, they have given us public policies that do too little to help most Pennsylvanians while making the rich and corporations even wealthier. That’s why we demand tax justice now!”

Angelo Ortega: “Whether the problem is storm damage or neglect by previous owners many families in Pennsylvania live in houses that could be wonderful places to live if only they had some care. They might need a major improvement or minor ones. But the costs for these repairs are often beyond the means of the families that own these homes.”

“Fortunately, the Whole-Home Repairs program provides the funds. And when the repairs are made, it benefits not just the family that lives in the home but their neighbors and the local community. But the initial money for the program has run out in most counties in Pennsylvania, so now is the time to add new funding. More money for the Whole-Home Repairs program means we can help more families who need it.”

Hillary Rothrock: “Every month is a struggle to pay my rent, my bills, put food on the table, and pay for medical care. I have medical bills that I make payments on to afford them…” “I have no benefits, no health insurance, no paid sick or vacation time, no 401K or pension. I don’t even get overtime pay or holiday pay.”

“I’m proud to pay my fair share in taxes. But it isn’t fair that my rate is more than double the rate paid by the top 1% of families whose incomes average $1.9 million a year!”

Jody Weinrich: “I believe people … shouldn’t have to live with relatives because they can’t afford housing on minimum wage. And how can anyone think about retirement when they’re making so little?”

“I believe people should be able to take their kids to the park, out to a restaurant, or to see a movie without worrying about money. We deserve a livable wage so we can have dignity in our work. Pennsylvania should be a place where working people can thrive, not just survive.”

Jessica Britain: “I’m here to say that I’m not interested in what we can’t do…what we can do is make a historic, constitutionally and Commonwealth Court-mandated investment in ALL public schools around the Commonwealth.”

“Every student deserves…a safe, healthy learning environment so they can thrive and succeed in school today and live productive, fulfilling lives after graduation.”