PA House Democrats Deliver: Improving PA’s Economy for Workers and Businesses

HARRISBURG, Dec. 27 – With an aggressive agenda in 2023, the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus advanced the commonwealth’s economic outlook and helped working families and seniors across the state by driving policies that return more money to the people who make our local economies thrive.

Following nearly two decades of Republican inaction, House Democrats secured the first increase in the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program in 17 years. The newly expanded program made 173,000 more Pennsylvanians eligible and the maximum rebate increased from $650 to $1,000.

“This law helps seniors, people under the age of 65 with disabilities, renters and homeowners so they can stay in their homes,” said Rep. Steve Samuelson, D-Northampton, chairman of the House Finance Committee and primary sponsor of the legislation.

House Democrats are also ensuring seniors’ prescription drugs remain affordable in 2024, by updating the PACE/PACENET law to allow any senior who was enrolled in the programs as of Dec. 31, 2022, to remain in the program even if they exceed the maximum income limit due to the Social Security cost-of living adjustment.

Pennsylvania’s working families also win with a significantly increased Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit - a measure championed by House Democrats – that will help families pay for child and dependent care in order to work. Under the enhanced program, nearly a quarter million qualifying families will see their state tax credit triple when they file their federal and state tax returns in 2024. 

A newly expanded “Clean Slate” program is putting more Pennsylvanians back to work, by making low-level, non-violent drug offenses with a maximum sentence of 30 months eligible for automated sealing. It also permits petition-based sealing of a few other non-violent offenses and reduces the waiting period for automated sealing of misdemeanors to seven years. Clean Slate 3.0 builds on the original Clean Slate law, passed in 2018, that has sealed 40 million cases and improved the lives of 1.2 million Pennsylvanians and their families.

“What we’ve seen since Clean Slate was first enacted is countless Pennsylvanians having doors opened for them to better education, housing and employment that were previously not available due to a minor crime they committed in their past,” said majority Appropriations Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila. “This expansion had bipartisan support because everyone realizes that it’s not only the right thing to do for folks who have paid their debt to society and are on the right track, but it improves our communities and makes them safer by helping people reach higher levels of success and achievement.”

However, with a year remaining in the 2023-24 legislative session, there is much more Pennsylvania can do to support workers and businesses.

House Democrats have already passed dozens of worker- and business-friendly bills that would further improve the state’s economic climate, including:

  • Accelerating a reduction in the Corporate Net Income tax – a measure championed by Pennsylvania’s business community.
  • Protecting workers from wage theft and leveling the playing field for ethical businesses by ending worker misclassification.
  • Extending OSHA protections to public workers.
  • Helping more Pennsylvanians save for retirement by establishing the Keystone Saves program.

Finally, in 2024, across the nation nearly 10 million Americans will get raises from minimum-wage hikes in their states. Pennsylvania is not one of them despite a bipartisan-backed boost in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage advanced by House Democrats in June 2023. Pennsylvania’s wage has been stagnant at $7.25 an hour for more than a decade of Republican-legislative rule. The bipartisan plan would increase the wage incrementally over the next several years while ensuring the commonwealth remains competitive. Currently, every state bordering Pennsylvania, including Ohio and West Virginia, has a higher minimum wage.

“We know there’s a whole group of people whose hands get dirty. Who are tired. Who are working multiple jobs, and who are waiting,” House Democratic Whip Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, said about the House’s passage of a minimum-wage hike. “If you are a working person in Pennsylvania. If the soles of your feet are sore, if your hands are tired and beat up from that day at work, and you’re looking for help – we are here for you, and we are not done yet.” 

In all, the House Democratic majority advanced more than 200 bills in 2023 – including an overwhelming number with bipartisan support. In 2024, the chamber will continue to advance legislation to strengthen the economy for every Pennsylvanian. 

Pennsylvania House Democrats are committed to ensuring better jobs, better schools and better communities for all Pennsylvanians. Putting people ahead of politics, House Democrats have led the charge to lower taxes, help workers save for retirement, put more teachers in local schools, and make communities safer. More information on these successful efforts is at