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Results tagged “Economy”

December 2, 2014

SB681 would boost struggling families and spur local economies

Richmond, Va - This morning, the Virginia Economic Opportunity Coalition announced their support for SB681, legislation introduced by Senator David Marsden (D-37) to raise Virginia's minimum wage to $10.10 hour. Members of the Coalition joined Senator Marsden to discuss the impact of raising the wage on Virginia families.

Tiffany Bell, a Richmond-area mother of two, spoke about her experience earning minimum wage at McDonalds. "I'm the mother of two children. On $7.25 an hour, I have to come up with rent, food, daycare, and more. You simply can't make ends meet on that wage. You want to give your children everything in the world, to help them reach their goals, but I can't do that on $7.25 an hour."

Senator Marsden said, "People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. Too many working Virginians are still losing ground and not getting a fair shot at the American dream. We need to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

A March Roanoke College poll found 65% of Virginians support raising the minimum wage. A March survey from Quinnipiac found similar numbers. Across the country, momentum is building for increasing support for low-wage workers. Six states approved minimum wage hikes via ballot referendum this November, including deep red states like South Dakota and Nebraska.

Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA, a member of the Coalition, also expressed support for the increase. "Raising the wage is a shot in the arm for our economy, giving working families more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. While CEO pay has increased 875% over the past 35 years, average worker pay has increased only 5%. It's time we make sure workers are paid a fair wage for a hard day's work."

Low wage workers live in every community and legislative district in the Commonwealth. Six in ten workers impacted by SB681 are women, and one quarter are raising children. Close to 300,000 Virginia children live in a household that would see increased income from raising the wage. And, contrary to common perception, low-wage workers are primarily older and working full time. A full 88% of workers affected by SB681 are twenty years or older and 53% are working full time.

Members of the Economic Opportunity Coalition include ProgressVA, Virginia New Majority, The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, Virginia AFL-CIO, SEIU Virginia 512, and Virginia Raise Up for 15.

July 3, 2014

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The Rachel Maddow Show reports, "There was some cautious optimism in advance of this morning's new job numbers, but few expected the data to be this good. The new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June, well ahead of forecasts. The overall unemployment rate, meanwhile, dripped to 6.1% - its lowest point since September 2008, nearly six years ago."

Progressive Point: Hardworking Americans are doing their part to strengthen our economy--its time our representatives did theirs. Virginians are plugging away to support their family and our communities today more than ever. Meanwhile many of our elected officials are doing nothing to ensure every Virginian can afford a fair shot at the American dream. Simply put, until the minimum wage catches up with the cost of living too many of us will stay stuck struggling.

More Virginians finding work is great news for our families and businesses alike. But these Virginians who work hard and play by the rules must also be able to afford to live and raise their families with dignity. Paying decent, living wages is a great investment for Commonwealth businesses. Well-paid workers are better employees and better customers--their spending helps sustain the economy for everyone. Virginia's elected officials must stop putting off helping our working families by addressing income inequality and ensure all of us get ahead, not just get by.

Get the Facts:

  • Today's Bureau of Labor Statistics job announcement was stronger than expected with the economy adding 288,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. "Analysts had expected 212,000 jobs to be added. It marks five straight months of job growth over 200,000 and is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008. 1.38 million jobs have been added to the economy since the start of the year, 1.16 million of them in the private sector." (ThinkProgress, July 3, 2014)

  • The Center for American Progress reports why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia:

    • 511,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
    • 233,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,261,582,000 for Virginia.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage Virginia helps women; 57 percent of the workers benefitting from a minimum-wage increase are women.
    • 368,000 children would see their parents' wages rise because of an increase in the minimum wage.

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June 23, 2014

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The Daily Press reports, "The gaps between the Peninsula's poorest and richest neighborhoods are wide, and getting wider. They are gaps in income -- and in the share of income available to save for the future, in access to jobs, health care and even groceries, a Daily Press review of Census and other data shows. They are gaps, too, in hope."

Progressive Point: Virginians who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. A living wage is an investment in both the businesses and people of our communities. We need to put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, not continue the failed "trickle down" policies of the last decade that lined the pockets of the rich and left most American families worse off.

Across the Commonwealth, too many working people, children, and seniors are stuck struggling. A higher minimum wage gives working families more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. Further compounding this crisis, Richmond conservatives are playing partisan games with the budget and making cuts based on political ideology, instead of saving the programs that are saving ordinary lives. It's past time for the minimum wage to catch up with the cost of living so that every Virginian can afford a fair shot at the American dream.

Get the Facts:

  • The the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Fairfax County's average weekly wage is down 2% from where it was a year ago. (Prince William Today, June 22, 2014)
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    • "On the Peninsula, average wages, adjusted for inflation have increased less than 3 percent since the depths of the recession, although per capita personal income, buoyed by faster gains in the money people get from their businesses and investments, rose 10 percent, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data show."
    • "about 40 percent of the children of parents in the middle of the income pack on the Peninsula will end up down the ladder from where their parents were. About that percentage of children of parents at the bottom will stay at the bottom. More than a third of children of the highest earners will be among the highest earners of their generation."
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    • 45th in Unemployment Insurance Coverage (-9.690% worse than U.S. avg). Virginia has 19% of unemployed workers in the state that were helped by unemployment insurance in 2012. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Chartbook).
    • 36th in Health Insurance Coverage (+12.733% worse than U.S. avg). 30.46% of people under 65 and belew 138% FPL in the state who did not have health insurance at any time during 2012. (Source: Center for American Progress, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Table C27016).
    • 32nd in Affordable Housing (-3.935% worse than U.S. avg). 61 apartments (or other units) in the state that were affordable and available for every 100 renter households with very-low incomes in 2010. Very low-income households are those with income at or below 50% of the area median income. (Source: National Low Income Housing Center, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey).
    • Half in Ten Education Fund is a partnership of Center for American Progress, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the Coalition on Human Needs to educate and mobilize the public around policies and programs to cut U.S. poverty in half in 10 years.

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May 23, 2014

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The Daily Progress reports, "One in three children in Virginia is living in poverty or near-poverty, according to a study from the University of Virginia. Researchers at UVa began a statewide poverty report last year, using a wider range of data than just the federal poverty line."

Progressive Point: Many of Virginia's children and hardest workers are those with the least. From Southside to Shenandoah, Virginians attempting to take care of their families skip sleep to work long hours at multiple jobs, but keep falling further behind. Our Commonwealth needs an economy that guarantees us all a fair shot at the American dream and protects our families' futures, not just lower tax rates for the wealthy.

America's greatness comes from the people striving for a shot at the American dream and opportunities for our children. The best way to grow Virginia's economy is to boost our home front investments that lift up working families, feed hungry children, and fund our schools. Our government should reward hard work by increasing opportunities for vulnerable families striving to gain financial security instead of cutting them off from education and health care. Working hard should be the path to getting ahead.

Get the Facts:

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    • 45th in Unemployment Insurance Coverage (-9.690% worse than U.S. avg). Virginia has 19% of unemployed workers in the state that were helped by unemployment insurance in 2012. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Chartbook).
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    • 36th in Health Insurance Coverage (+12.733% worse than U.S. avg). 30.46% of people under 65 and belew 138% FPL in the state who did not have health insurance at any time during 2012. (Source: Center for American Progress, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Table C27016).
  •  
    • 32nd in Affordable Housing (-3.935% worse than U.S. avg). 61 apartments (or other units) in the state that were affordable and available for every 100 renter households with very-low incomes in 2010. Very low-income households are those with income at or below 50% of the area median income. (Source: National Low Income Housing Center, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey).
  •  
    • Half in Ten Education Fund is a partnership of Center for American Progress, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the Coalition on Human Needs to educate and mobilize the public around policies and programs to cut U.S. poverty in half in 10 years.

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May 15, 2014

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The Washington Post reports, "On Thursday, fast-food workers in 130 cities will go on strike to demand higher wages, a follow-up to a protest last year that The New York Times called the 'biggest wave of job actions in the history of America's fast-food industry.' The movement to raise the minimum wage has been gaining momentum recently as states and localities raise minimum wages on their own in light of federal inaction."

Progressive Point: In every corner of the Commonwealth, Virginians are working harder for less. When we put in an honest day's work and play by the rules, we should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. It's past time for the minimum wage to catch up with the cost of living so that every Virginian can afford a fair shot at the American dream.

Virginia's businesses truly thrive when employees can afford to be customers themselves. Keeping money in our communities and buying local is key to sustaining our hometown employers and economy. But from Danville to Dale City it is getting harder and harder for Virginians to scrape by with an obsolete minimum wage. In America, the chance to get ahead shouldn't be too expensive for anyone who works hard and plays by the rules. We need to fix this problem so we have a minimum wage keeps pace with the effort and pride Virginians put into their jobs.

Get the Facts:

  • The Center for American Progress reports why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia:
    • 511,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
    • 233,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,261,582,000 for Virginia.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage Virginia helps women; 57 percent of the workers benefitting from a minimum-wage increase are women.
    • 368,000 children would see their parents' wages rise because of an increase in the minimum wage.
  • VIDEO: NewsChannel 8's Dave Lucas spoke with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine on raising the minimum wage. (April 29, 2014)

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Raise the wage

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April 30, 2014

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WJLA reports, "This week, the Senate will revisit a stalled proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour. President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats plan to push the issue on the campaign trail ahead of the November mid-term elections."

Progressive Point: Too many working Virginians are still losing ground and not getting a fair shot at the American dream. We need to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. A higher minimum wage gives Virginia workers more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers.

Raising the minimum wage will help provide Virginians who work hard the opportunity they need to get ahead while giving the economy a needed shot in the arm. It's long overdue that we face the reality working families see every day and provide common sense solutions to help all of us get ahead, not just get by. Right now, the deck is stacked against families in communities across the Commonwealth. It's time for our elected officials to end widespread economic inequality, help our working families, and build a thriving and growing Virginia economy.

Get the Facts:

  • VIDEO: NewsChannel 8's Dave Lucas spoke with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine on raising the minimum wage. (April 29, 2014)

  • The Center for American Progress reports why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia:
    • 511,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
    • 233,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,261,582,000 for Virginia.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage Virginia helps women; 57 percent of the workers benefitting from a minimum-wage increase are women.
    • 368,000 children would see their parents' wages rise because of an increase in the minimum wage.

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April 28, 2014

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The Roanoke Times shares in its Opinions, "In Virginia, the average debt of a bachelor's degree recipient when he or she leaves college is $25,000; this debt burden has increased 25 percent ($5,000) from 2007 to 2012... New research findings show student debt may be having a significant impact on the overall U.S. housing market that could translate into long-term effects for the U.S. economy. The percentage of first-time homebuyers has decreased 3 percentage points from 2012-2013 to 28 percent of existing home sales. Just 13 years ago, first-time home buyers age 25 to 34 made up 33 percent of existing home sales."

Progressive Point: Affordable access to college is more than just part of the American Dream. Our Commonwealth's financial future depends on educating the next generation without saddling them with insurmountable debt in the process. All students, no matter what their background, deserve that chance at scholastic success today and economic security tomorrow.

We should be helping our Commonwealth's students build their futures, not crushing them with debt. The increasing cost of college is burdening Virginia's young people with unending debt that follows them for decades and makes it impossible for them to reinvest their earnings in our economy. Virginians believe in rewarding those who are working hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities and education they need to get there. Ensuring security in our students' financial future now is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's shared economic days ahead.

Get the Facts:

  • "$1.1 trillion. That is now the total outstanding student loan debt in the United States. Student loan debt is the second largest type of consumer debt in the U.S. Outstanding student loan debt accounts for roughly 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, outpacing credit card debt and second only to mortgage debt." (Roanoke Times, April 29, 2014)

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  • Federal student debt is now over $1 trillion. (Politico, July 17, 2013)
  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

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April 8, 2014

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The Huffington Post reports, "April 8 is Equal Pay Day, marking the number of extra days into 2014 the average woman has to work to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2013... [F]or full-time, year-round workers, women are paid on average only 77 percent of what men are paid; for women of color, the gap is significantly wider. African American women on average earn only 64 cents and Latinas on average earn only 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men."

Progressive Point: Virginians believe in an economy that works for everyone equally--not more if you are wealthy and not less if you are a woman. In our communities across the Commonwealth, Virginia women are increasingly the breadwinners for their families. That means gender discrimination in pay isn't just costing businesses because their customers have less to spend--it's hurting families too.

Our Commonwealth's economy must keep up with reality. Outdated workplace policies hold back our businesses and families alike. Catching Virginia up starts with a simple principle: women should earn equal pay for equal work. We've all got a stake in ending gender discrimination in pay. We do better when everybody has a fair shot, when our economy works for all of us, and that means ending gender discrimination in pay.

Get the Facts:

  •  
    • Women working full time, year round earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And it's even less for women of color.

    • Over the course of a 35 year career, a woman with a college degree will make an average of $1.2 million less than a man with the same level of education.

    • If women earned equal pay for equal work, our economy could grow, boosting GDP by 2.9 percent or $450 billion.

    • Women workers make up 64 percent of all minimum wage workers and are concentrated in lower wage jobs, where gender discrimination in pay persists. Over three-quarters of these
      female minimum wage workers are unmarried women.

    • In 2011, over 40 percent of all households with children under 18 were headed by women who were either the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, compared to just 11 percent in 1960. Of these "breadwinner moms," 37 percent were married women with higher earnings than their husbands and 63 percent were single mothers.

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April 3, 2014

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The Center for American Progress reports, "raising the minimum wage would yield tremendous benefits for both workers and for the economy. It would put more money in the pockets of workers, allowing them to spend it in their communities and increase demand in the overall economy. Specifically, in Virginia, raising the minimum wage would boost the economy by giving 744,000 workers a wage hike of $1,261,582,000 and help generate $798,581,000 in economic activity."

Progressive Point: Right now many working Virginians are losing ground and not getting a fair shot at the American dream. Our Commonwealth needs new policies that provide everyone the opportunity to get ahead and a minimum wage that ensures every family can make ends meet. Virginia can't truly be the best state for business if our economy doesn't work for everyone.

It's time for our leaders to wake up to the fact that Virginia is only at its strongest when our economy works for everyone. Virginia's elected officials must stop putting off helping our working families by addressing income inequality and investing in Virginia's economy now. A higher minimum wage gives Virginia workers more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. It's long overdue that we face the reality working families see every day and provide common sense solutions to help all of us get ahead, not just get by.

Get the Facts:

The Center for American Progress reports:

  • Why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia
    • 511,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

    • 233,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.

    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,261,582,000 for Virginia.

    • Increasing the federal minimum wage Virginia helps women; 57 percent of the workers benefitting from a minimum-wage increase are women. 

    • 368,000 children would see their parents' wages rise because of an increase in the minimum wage.

  • Raising the minimum wage will put money into the pockets of workers and may boost the economy
    • Increasing the minimum wage would help workers, who will then spend the money on things such as housing, food, and gas. This boost in demand for goods and services will stimulate the economy and help create opportunities for all Americans. The money gets funneled back to small and large businesses that would need to hire more workers to keep up with the demand, reinforcing a virtuous circle that will help build an economy that works everyone.

    • Increasing the minimum wage may increase economic activity. One study showed that increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour would grow the economy by $22 billion.

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2-1 support for raising the wage

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March 26, 2014

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A new poll from Quinnipiac University finds overwhelming support for raising Virginia's minimum wage. Quinnipiac reports, "Virginia voters support 66 - 31 percent raising the state's $7.25 per hour minimum wage. Support is 96 - 3 percent among Democrats and 60 - 36 percent among independent voters. Republicans are opposed 56 - 41 percent. Women want a higher wage 73 - 25 percent while men support it 59 - 39 percent."

Progressive Point: In America, we believe everyone deserves a fair shot to succeed and a fair wage for an honest day's work. Across the Commonwealth, many hardworking Virginia families are struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. Our Commonwealth needs new policies that provide everyone the opportunity to get ahead and a minimum wage that ensures every family can make ends meet.

Elected officials should address income inequality by helping our working families and investing in Virginia's economy. A higher minimum wage gives Virginia workers more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. Right now, the deck is stacked against families who work full time but can't make ends meet. Raising the wage is the first step to ensuring that Virginia workers have the opportunity to get ahead, not just scrape by.

Get the Facts:

  • Via the Center for American Progress: Why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia:

    • 530,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10
    • 228,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,421,474,000 for Virginia and a total average increase to individual annual wages of $2,455.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage in Virginia disproportionately impacts women, 55.7% to 44.3% who would see an average increase to their annual wages by $2,336. [EPI, 11/13/13]
  • Rasing the minimum wage in Virginia will benefit 123,000 Virginians according to Del. Joe Morrissey. He also stated, "the average minimum-wage worker is a 32-year-old black or Latino woman working full time and trying to support children on $290 a week." (Virginian-Pilot, February 5, 2014)
  • Wages in America are now growing at only 2% per year, the slowest rate since at least 1965. (ThinkProgress, January 24, 2014)
  • "If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982." (ThinkProgress, December 1, 2013)

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A Commonwealth economy of opportunity

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February 5, 2014

The Virginian-Pilot reports a House committee killed two bills yesterday that would have raised the minimum wage in Virginia. "House Bill 32 would have raised Virginia's minimum wage to $8.50 from the federally required minimum of $7.25. House Bill 536 would have raised it to $8.25 this year and $9.25 in 2015... The bills failed on a largely party-line vote. A measure to increase the minimum wage in the Senate is still pending. It proposes the same increase as HB536."

Progressive Point: Even today, too many hardworking Virginia families are struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. No one is guaranteed success in America, but everyone deserves a fair shot to succeed and make enough to pay their bills. Our Commonwealth needs new policies that provide everyone an opportunity to get ahead and a minimum wage that ensures every family can make ends meet.

It's time for our elected officials to end widespread economic inequality, help our working families, and build a thriving and growing Virginia economy. A higher minimum wage gives Virginia workers more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. Right now, the deck is stacked against families in communities across the Commonwealth. It's long overdue that we face the reality working families see every day and provide common sense solutions to help all of us get ahead, not just get by.

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Get the Facts:

  • Rasing the minimum wage in Virginia will benefit 123,000 Virginians according to Del. Joe Morrissey, HB32's patron. He also stated, "the average minimum-wage worker is a 32-year-old black or Latino woman working full time and trying to support children on $290 a week." (Virginian-Pilot, February 5, 2014)
  • Wages in America are now growing at only 2% per year, the slowest rate since at least 1965. (ThinkProgress, January 24, 2014)
  • "If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982." (ThinkProgress, December 1, 2013)
  • Via the Center for American Progress: Why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia:

    • 530,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10
    • 228,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,421,474,000 for Virginia and a total average increase to individual annual wages of $2,455.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage in Virginia disproportionately impacts women, 55.7% to 44.3% who would see an average increase to their annual wages by $2,336. [EPI, 11/13/13]

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Return America to a fair playing field

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January 28, 2014

ThinkProgress reports, "President Barack Obama will focus on what he has described as 'the defining challenge of our time' during the State of the Union address on Tuesday: the nation's growing gap between the rich and poor. What economists saw as a temporary aberration in the early 1970s -- the first time since the end of World War II when the incomes of lower- and middle-income Americans failed to keep pace with those of the rich -- has in the intervening 40 years become a full-blown crisis."

Progressive Point: Our country's future depends on ensuring it remains the land of opportunity for everyone. We can renew the promise of the American dream to working families through eliminating the barriers of income inequality and getting to a minimum wage that ensures every family can make ends meet. It's time to get back to giving everyone a fair shot and building an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest one percent.

America was founded as a nation that fostered equality of opportunity and rewarded hard work. Anyone who shows up to work every day and works hard so their company can make a profit ought to make enough to pay their own bills. But today many are working harder than ever and yet our middle class continues to shrink. It's time Virginia's elected officials prioritized ending widespread economic inequality, help our working families, and build a thriving and growing Commonwealth. We need to return America to a fair playing field for everyone.

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Get the Facts:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could lift almost 5 million people out of poverty. (ThinkProgress, January 3, 2014)
  • Wages in America are now growing at only 2% per year, the slowest rate since at least 1965. (ThinkProgress, January 24, 2014)
  • "If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982." (ThinkProgress, December 1, 2013)
  • The Washington Post reports that between the 2007-2009 and 2010-2012 time periods, "a shrinking middle class in many states was offset by growth but only in the upper and lower income extremes." The graph below shows the major decline in Virginia's middle class households:

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January 16, 2014

The Roanoke Times reports Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R. Roanoke County, said, "Restricting access to abortion 'very much promotes job creation,'" on Wednesday. "He believes that fewer abortions = more babies which = more population which = more demand for goods and services... The fact is, there's no causal relationship between abortion restrictions and job creation or unemployment. Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, would like you to believe otherwise. Don't fall for it."

Progressive Point: Rep. Bob Goodlatte couldn't be more wrong. Denying women reproductive health care is damaging to our economy. Without adequate access to family planning services, women are less likely to finish their education, move forward with their careers, or become financially independent.

Conservative efforts to end our reproductive rights hurt the ability of Virginians without means, who need access to affordable health services the most, to provide better economic security for their families. Senator Tim Kaine was right when he said, "You can't empower women in the economy if you take away their choices." Virginians have made clear that we don't support an extreme, right-wing agenda that interferes in our private medical decisions and our families' financial security. It's time our representatives got back to work and focused on expanding health care access and opportunity instead of denying women their constitutionally-protected rights.

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Get the Facts:

  • "Without access to affordable family planning services, women are less likely to be able to finish their education, advance their career, or achieve financial independence." (ThinkProgress, January 15, 2014)
  • "The low-income women who end up carrying unwanted pregnancies to term end up slipping deeper into poverty and struggling with long-term mental health issues. That ends up impacting the social safety net, putting a greater strain on the Medicaid program." (ThinkProgress, January 15, 2014)
  • "Every $1 invested into family planning programs yields more than $5 in savings for the U.S. government." (ThinkProgress, January 15, 2014)
  • According to Rep. Goodlatte's theory, countries that ban abortion should have higher job growth, but many that do have a much higher unemployment rate than the United States. For example: Haiti's at 40.6%, Dominican Republic is at 15.1%, Syria is at 14.9%, Iran is at 10.4%, Poland is at 13.4%, and Angola is at 26.0%. (Roanoke Times, January 16, 2014)
  • "'It's demeaning to suggest that issues about women are just social issues and not economic issues,' Kaine says. 'If you force women to have an ultrasound procedure against their will, and pay for it, that's an economic issue. If you deny women the opportunity, because of personhood legislation, to make constitutional choices, even including whether to purchase contraception, that's an economic issue.'" (Washington Post, October 1, 2012)

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Bob McDonnell shorting our schools

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December 11, 2013

The Daily Press reports, "Gov. Bob McDonnell is offering an increase in state education funding, but the $582.6 million boost appears to fall short of projections for new mandated spending. 'We have to make additional cuts based on those numbers,' Poquoson schools Superintendent Jennifer Parish said. 'Yes, he's providing additional funding, but it doesn't cover the cost increase that K-12 education is experiencing.'"

Progressive Point: Investing in our children and schools today is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's economy tomorrow. Both the House and Senate finance committee projections say Bob McDonnell's budget proposal would short our students and our shared financial future by $100 million. Guaranteeing our children's education now is an essential, nonpartisan commitment to ensure a skilled Virginia workforce ready to compete in the global economy in the days ahead.

Virginia's Chamber of Commerce understands that our Commonwealth has to lead in education if we are going to stay a leader in business. They also understand the need for investments leading to a higher quality early childhood education and an improved and competitive workforce. In Virginia's new budget we have the opportunity to renew our economic recovery efforts and ensure a stronger workforce for tomorrow through investment in a quality education for all Virginia families.  

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  • Both the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate finance committees project Gov. McDonnell's state education funding in his two-year budget proposal "is about $100 million short of the cost for rebenchmarking and increases into the Virginia Retirement System. The Senate expects the total cost to be $605.9 million, the House estimates $624.5 million." (Daily Press, December 10, 2013)

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  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

  • Senator Tim Kaine recently opined in the Virginian-Pilot:
    • "90 percent of brain development occurs before a child's fifth birthday. Without early education programs that serve children under the age of five, our education system neglects children during the years its effects could be most significant.

    • Pre-K is also good for the economy. Nobel laureate James Heckman, an economist who calculates how public investments accelerate economic growth, has concluded that early childhood education has one of the greatest returns of any public investment.

    • Early learning programs make it more likely that children will do well in elementary school, less likely they will have to repeat a grade and more likely they will be successful in the future.

    • The return on investment may be even higher when children from low-income families gain access to pre-K programs. Research shows that the value of the program is most powerful for children who might otherwise have learning barriers - developmental disabilities, lack of access to books or other learning material, or a home where English isn't the primary language."

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November 25, 2013

The Roanoke Times opines, Virginia "is poised to move beyond partisan jockeying on at least one needed change to improve public schools: expanding access to preschool, the foundation upon which effective education reform rests. If only Virginia will take the opportunity. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce gave a push last week to slowly gathering momentum to integrate early childhood learning fully into the education of our young."

Progressive Point: Across the Commonwealth, our economic future and the future of our children are shared concerns. Improving the quality and availability of early childhood learning is a shared investment in our working families and Virginia businesses alike. Investing in our children now is an essential, nonpartisan commitment to our Commonwealth's shared financial future.

Senator Tim Kaine knows that investment in early education today ensures a skilled workforce ready to compete in the global economy tomorrow. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce desires investments leading to a higher quality early childhood education that will bring us to an improved and competitive Commonwealth workforce as well. Today we have the opportunity to renew our economic recovery efforts and ensure a stronger workforce for tomorrow through investment in a quality early education for all Virginia families. 

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Get the Facts:

  • Last week, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber last week, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Senator Tim Kaine opined just Saturday in the Virginian-Pilot:
    • "90 percent of brain development occurs before a child's fifth birthday. Without early education programs that serve children under the age of five, our education system neglects children during the years its effects could be most significant.

    • Pre-K is also good for the economy. Nobel laureate James Heckman, an economist who calculates how public investments accelerate economic growth, has concluded that early childhood education has one of the greatest returns of any public investment.
    • Early learning programs make it more likely that children will do well in elementary school, less likely they will have to repeat a grade and more likely they will be successful in the future.

    • The return on investment may be even higher when children from low-income families gain access to pre-K programs. Research shows that the value of the program is most powerful for children who might otherwise have learning barriers - developmental disabilities, lack of access to books or other learning material, or a home where English isn't the primary language."

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November 19, 2013

The News & Advance reports, "The 2014 General Assembly will have, as one of its first orders of business, a bill seeking to repeal the state transportation taxes enacted in July. Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, filed HB 3, which became public Monday, the first day to file bills for next year."

Progressive Point: Businesses and families alike know that investment is vital to the economic success of our communities--not passing the buck on fixing roads, refusing to find revenue to pay for it, and taking a cuts-only approach that stymies economic growth. However, conservatives like Del. Cline want to go back to the same failed policies that have not fixed our transportation problems for years.

We all know Virginia's roads and transportation system are still a mess and will need serious infrastructure investments in order to get better. Home front investments in our infrastructure put Virginians back to work and grow our economy. Last year, Virginia dropped from 10th to 33rd place in CNBC's ranking on state infrastructures and transportation because of failed cuts-only policies like those of Del. Cline. Virginia families deserve leaders that fight for us and for our priorities: investment in our economy, infrastructure, and future growth. The Richmond conservatives' cuts-only budget approach would continue to get us nowhere. 

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  • Del. Cline's bill would strip all new revenue from the new transportation law that is designed to raise $6 billion over five years for transportation projects. (Virginian-Pilot, November 19, 2013)
  • Last year, Virginia dropped from 10th to 33rd place in CNBC's ranking on state infrastructures and transportation, causing Virginia to lose it's position as the best state in the country to do business. "Infrastructure -- specifically the state's perpetually clogged highways -- has long been an issue in fast-growing Virginia, CNBC said." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 10, 2012)

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November 18, 2013

The Commonwealth Institute reports, "Disparate growth in wages has been trending for decades in Virginia, with the top earners getting farther ahead and lower earners falling behind. As a result, Virginia faces record levels of inequality that threaten the state's economic stability and long-term prosperity because the middle class and low-income households that make up most of the population aren't earning enough to buy the goods and services the economy is capable of producing."

Progressive Point: Virginia's working families pay their fair share of taxes and for that they deserve fair shot at the American dream. To ensure an equal chance, we need an economy that works for all Virginians, and budget priorities that get us there. But instead of encouraging tax fairness, Bob McDonnell's budget legacy will be endless giveaways for big corporations and the wealthy.

Making matters worse, conservative politicians still refuse to fix the sequester, forcing working families across the Commonwealth and the country to scrape by with smaller paychecks, less health care and education, and fewer of the basic services we all rely on. Our Commonwealth's budget is about more than just numbers--it's a roadmap for our community priorities. That means putting people back to work and growing our economy by getting rid of tax breaks and loopholes that don't work. In Virginia, everyone should get a fair shot, pay their fair share, and play by the same set of rules.

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Via The Commonwealth Institute:

  • "Over the last 30 years, median wages in Virginia have grown 24 percent, taking account of inflation. But wages for the top 10 percent of earners grew 19 times as fast as those at the bottom.
  • Since 2007, only workers earning the median or higher have seen their wages grow in Virginia.
  • In 2012, the top 10 percent earned 2.7 times as much as the median worker. Only California had a larger disparity.
  • After a slight narrowing of the gap between male and female median wages during the recession, that progress started to unravel in 2012, setting back gains for women to pre-recession level."

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November 14, 2013

The New York Times reports, "The White House has thrown its weight behind a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $10 an hour. 'The president has long supported raising the minimum wage so hard-working Americans can have a decent wage for a day's work to support their families and make ends meet,' a White House official said. President Obama, the official continued, supports the Harkin-Miller bill, also known as the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from its current $7.25."

Progressive Point: This is America, where growth comes from the middle out, not the top down. People want to be working hard and earning a decent wage that can support a family. To do that we need to put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, not continue the failed "trickle down" policies of the last decade that lined the pockets of the rich and left most American families worse off.

The problem for many families is work doesn't pay enough. Greedy executives keep wages low and let taxpayers feed their workforce with food stamps. A higher minimum wage gives working families more money to spend, which in turn gives our community businesses more customers. America's greatness comes from everyone striving for a shot at the American dream, not lower tax rates for the wealthy. Raising the minimum wage will give our economy the shot in the arm it needs now, after a manufactured government shutdown that cost Virginia working families so much.

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  • Via the Center for American Progress: Why raising the minimum wage is the right choice for Virginia:

    • 530,000: Number of  people in Virginia who would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10
    • 228,000: Number of people in Virginia who would be indirectly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage would have a total wage increase of $1,421,474,000 for Virginia and a total average increase to individual annual wages of $2,455.
    • Increasing the federal minimum wage in Virginia disproportionately impacts women, 55.7% to 44.3% who would see an average increase to their annual wages by $2,336. [EPI, 11/13/13]
  • Congress's recent government shutdown severely hurt low-wage government contract workers who were not paid during the closure. Unlike most federal employees, contractors who get paid some of the lowest wages in the government as janitors, security guards, and food-service workers do not receive back pay for the time they didn't work during the shutdown. (Washington Post, November 13, 2013)

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October 22, 2013

The Washington Post reports, "Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II said Monday he was uncertain whether he would have voted for the bipartisan measure on Capitol Hill that brought the 16-day federal shutdown to an end. 'I don't know whether I would have voted for it,' Cuccinelli told reporters in response to a question."

Progressive Point: We need leaders who care about the real life problems facing middle class Virginians, despite the priorities of Tea Party shutdown extremists. Across the Commonwealth, blue-collar workers, families, and veterans were stuck struggling with the consequences of the GOP shutdown that Ken Cuccinelli now says he's not sure he would have even voted to end. Our families deserve a government that works, and leaders who denounce extreme antics that kept thousands of Virginians from their jobs.

The Tea Party shutdown caused serious economic harm to hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families, many right here in our Commonwealth. But conservatives like Cuccinelli would still rather hurt their own constituents than see health care reform succeed. We count on public workers to keep our country and our Commonwealth running -- to inspect airplanes and food, run parks and treat sick kids. But for far-right conservatives, the less our government does, the better. While many Virginia families suffered because of the senseless shutdown, Tea Party Republicans like Cuccinelli don't seem to regret it and can't wait to do it again.

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  • The cost of the shutdown according to ABC News:
    • $3.1 billion in lost government services. Although furloughed workers will get their back pay, taxpayers won't see the products. (Source: I.H.S.)

    • According to the U.S. Travel Association: There has been $152 million per day in all spending related to travel lost because of the shutdown. As many as 450,000 American workers supported by travel may be affected.

    • According to the National Park Service: They welcome more than 700,000 people per day usually in October and visitors spend an estimated $32 million per day impact in communities near national parks and contribute $76 million each day to the national economy. Those revenues were lost.

    • According to Destination D.C., the official tourism corporation of D.C.: There is a 9 percent decrease in hotel occupancy from the last week in September before the shutdown to the first week of October during the shutdown. This year, hotel occupancy was down 74.4 percent for the week Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 compared to the 2012 numbers. (Source: Smith Travel Research, Inc.) In 2012, an estimated $6.2 billion of visitor spending supported more than 75,300 jobs.


  • The hit to Washington, D.C. has been especially hard, according to Mayor Vince Gray's office:
    • Regional (D.C./Maryland/Virginia) impact: $217 million a day (17.6 percent of the region's economy) from lost/deferred federal and contractor wages.

    • Washington, D.C. economic activity impact: $44 million a week decrease

    • Washington, D.C. tax revenue impact: $6 million a week decrease

    • Hospitality sector observations: 7 percent decrease in restaurant traffic in the first week in October compared to 2012 and 13,000 fewer hotel bookings (8.3 percent decrease) and $2 million less room revenue in the first week in October compared to 2012.

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October 21, 2013

The News & Advance reports, "Thursday morning, when the Republican-forced partial shutdown of the federal government ended, we checked to see how Central Virginia's two congressmen -- Robert Hurt of the Fifth District and Bob Goodlatte of the Sixth District -- had voted. The answer didn't surprise us too much, but we are more than a little disappointed in our two member of the House of Representatives who voted against reopening the government and keeping the U.S. and global economies safe and sound." The Martinsville Bulletin also reports, "A year from now, if U.S. Reps. Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt are running for re-election, we hope voters remember that on Oct. 16, 2013, these two cast votes that would have sent the nation into default."

Progressive Point: We count on public workers to keep our country and our Commonwealth running -- to inspect airplanes and food, run parks and treat sick kids. But for House conservatives, the less our government does, the better. Their shutdown cost our economy $24 billion and drove us to the brink of a catastrophic default. While many Virginia families suffered because of the senseless shutdown, Tea Party Republicans can't wait to do it again.

Americans across the country were united by their frustration with the shutdown. It denied treatment to kids with cancer, disrupted military funerals for Americans killed in the line of duty, and took money out of the pockets of everyone from firefighters to small business owners. The Tea Party shutdown caused serious economic harm done to hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families, many right here in our Commonwealth. Representatives Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, and Forbes' political stand threatened the foundation of the nation and the financial security of Virginia families. Virginia can't afford Congressmen who vote against the very job they were elected to do just for their partisan priorities of fighting health care reform.

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  • Via the Washington Post - How Congress voted on the government shutdown:
    • Virginia Congressmen who voted to keep the shutdown: Reps. Randy Forbes, Bob Goodlatte, Moran Griffith, Robert Hurt

    • Virginia Congressmen who voted to end the shutdown: Reps. Eric Cantor, Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran, Scott Rigell, Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, and Frank Wolf


  • The cost of the shutdown according to ABC News:
    • $3.1 billion in lost government services. Although furloughed workers will get their back pay, taxpayers won't see the products. (Source: I.H.S.)

    • According to the U.S. Travel Association: There has been $152 million per day in all spending related to travel lost because of the shutdown. As many as 450,000 American workers supported by travel may be affected.

    • According to the National Park Service: They welcome more than 700,000 people per day usually in October and visitors spend an estimated $32 million per day impact in communities near national parks and contribute $76 million each day to the national economy. Those revenues were lost.

    • According to Destination D.C., the official tourism corporation of D.C.: There is a 9 percent decrease in hotel occupancy from the last week in September before the shutdown to the first week of October during the shutdown. This year, hotel occupancy was down 74.4 percent for the week Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 compared to the 2012 numbers. (Source: Smith Travel Research, Inc.) In 2012, an estimated $6.2 billion of visitor spending supported more than 75,300 jobs.


  • The hit to Washington, D.C. has been especially hard, according to Mayor Vince Gray's office:
    • Regional (D.C./Maryland/Virginia) impact: $217 million a day (17.6 percent of the region's economy) from lost/deferred federal and contractor wages.

    • Washington, D.C. economic activity impact: $44 million a week decrease

    • Washington, D.C. tax revenue impact: $6 million a week decrease

    • Hospitality sector observations: 7 percent decrease in restaurant traffic in the first week in October compared to 2012 and 13,000 fewer hotel bookings (8.3 percent decrease) and $2 million less room revenue in the first week in October compared to 2012.

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