‘Fighting Back, Moving Forward’: Keystone Progressive Summit Points the Way

Keystone Progress, an organization whose goal is to strengthen the progressive political movement in Pennsylvania, held its annual Progressive Summit in Harrisburg. The summit is an opportunity for progressive leaders and individuals to network, support one another and share ideas and successful programs. As such, this year’s event was a much welcome respite from the drumbeat of hate-mongering and negativity we’ve endured during this endless election season. [Read more…]

Governor Corbett Can’t Find a Single Latino to Work for Him?

— by Igor Volsky, Think Progress

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett brushed away a question about Latinos working in his administration during a round-table discussion at The Union League in Philadelphia, telling the moderator, “If you can find us one let me know.”

At the same event, Corbett said:

I represent every one of you. I’ve been elected by the people of Pennsylvania to make it better than I found it. We need to be able to develop a stronger relationship with all communities…. we’re in the process now of getting much more connected with everybody, that we did not have before.

More after the jump.

Open Letter to Governor Tom Corbett from Pedro Rodriguez, Lorenzo Canizares and Michael Morrill of Keystone Progress

When you told Al Día that you didn’t have any Latinos on your staff, you added, “If you can find us one, please let me know.”

There are more than than 750,000 Latinos in PA.  That’s more than 6% of the population.  Here are some ideas on how you can find some of your Latino neighbors:

  • Buy a map of Pennsylvania.  Our Latino neighbors live in every community.
  • Have a meal someplace outside of the Governor’s Mansion
  • Google “Latino organizations in PA.”  There are dozens.  Then visit a few of them.
  • Talk to someone in your neighborhood.  About one in eight of your neighbors in Harrisburg is Hispanic.

If you need more ideas, please contact me.

Last year, Corbett proclaimed September 15 to October 15 as “Hispanic Heritage month,” noting, “I commend the many social and economic contributions of Latino-Hispanics in our state and celebrate the rich and diverse culture of Pennsylvania’s fasting growing minority group.”

Corbett said and noted that Pennsylvania’s 800,000 Latino residents represent approximately 6.8% of the overall population. A 2008 survey found that the Harrisburg-Carlisle metropolitan region “is home to more than 18,000 people of Hispanic or Latino origin,” one third of whom live in the city of Harrisburg. The city is also home to the Latino Hispanic American Community Center.

Corbett has established a commission of Latino affairs, which his website describes as “the Commonwealth’s advocate agency for its Latino community:”

The GACLA makes recommendations to the Governor on policies, procedures and legislation that would affect the Latino community in Pennsylvania and serves as the Governor’s liaison to Latinos in order to ensure that state government is accessible and accountable to the Latino community.

Philadelphia Pizzeria Owner Takes Papa John to Task on ObamaCare

— by Jamie Mondics

Curator of the Nation’s Only Pizza Museum Tells Papa John’s Owner He’d Gladly Pay 20 Cents More Per Pie if it Meant Affordable Health Care for Americans

Philadelphia pizzeria owner takes Papa John’s owner to task on the business of pizza and Obamacare

Last week, John Schnatter, the founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza – a Mitt Romney supporter and fundraiser – announced that the Affordable Care Act will raise the cost of his pizza 11 to 14 cents each, or 15 to 20 cents per order.

But local pizza historian Brian Dwyer, creator and spokesperson for Pizza Brain, says “As a pizza consumer, I will gladly pay 20 cents more per pie if that meant that people and their families got health insurance.”

“The whole idea of a pizza shop is that it is a community hub, where strangers can meet each other and share a slice of pizza. Pizza is so inherently communal that to complain about 11 cents a slice is a good indicator that the owner of Papa Johns has lost touch with the heart of what pizza is really about; community.”

When Pizza Brain opens in September 2012, it will display Brian Dwyer’s collection of pizza memorabilia, the Guinness record holder for the biggest such collection in the world. It will also serve pizza.

Brian, a small business owner says he is excited about the prospect of providing his employees health insurance. “We want to provide health insurance for our employees. As small business owners we want to provide our employees with the best possible options. To be able to give back to the people that work for and with us is what Pizza Brain is all about.”

Luckily for Brian and the other owners of Pizza Brain, under the Affordable Care Act small businesses who provide health insurance to their employees qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% to offset the cost of insurance.

And beginning in 2014, small businesses with generally fewer than 100 employees can shop in an Affordable Insurance Exchange, which gives them the leveraging power similar to what a large business enjoys when purchasing health insurance.  

Ask Millionaire Mitt Romney to Release His Tax Returns


Does Romney Want to Hide the Fact That He Pays a Lower Rate Than Hardworking Middle Class Pennsylvanians?

Keystone Progress, a multi-issue advocacy organization, confronted Mitt Romney today, calling on him to immediately release his tax returns, something he has never done during his two decades of running for or holding elective office.

Keystone Progress made the demand during Romney’s visit to Philadelphia for a $10,000 a seat fundraiser at the posh Rittenhouse Hotel.

A recent Time Magazine report indicated that Romney, who is worth as much as $250 million, may pay a tax rate as low as 14 percent – a rate lower than many hardworking middle class Granite State families. Without seeing his tax returns, it’s impossible to know how Romney is making his millions and what his exact tax rate is.

More after the jump.
“What is Romney hiding?,'” asked Keystone Progress Executive Director Michael Morrill.  “I think he is trying to hide the fact that he pays a lower tax rate than many middle class Americans.  If that’s true, then we have a right to know, especially when he’s suggesting tax policies that will cut taxes for the wealthy even more, while making working families pay more.”

Romney’s estimated tax rate of just 14 percent is less than half the rate (29.9%) a typical middle class American making $60,000 a year would pay.  Romney and many other millionaires are able to pay a lower tax rate because they earn their money largely from investments, which loopholes allow to be taxed at a lower rate than the wages that makeup most or all of the income of most middle class Americans.    

“It’s outrageous that millionaires like Mitt Romney take advantage of loopholes that allow them to pay less than bus drivers, factory workers or police officers,” Morrill added.  “It’s time to come clean and let the American people understand what is really driving his policy decisions.”