‘Affordability Gap’ In Lancaster County Widens For Renters

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The typical renter in Lancaster County is finding it harder to afford a basic apartment here, a new study shows.

The so-called “affordability gap” in Lancaster County has hit a record high, according to the latest report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The gap is the difference between the average renter’s hourly wage and what he needs to earn to comfortably afford the basic apartment.

According to the coalition, the average renter here earns $11.78 an hour.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/affordability-gap-in-lancaster-county-widens-for-renters/article_01bfb1ee-b39c-11e3-aa3f-001a4bcf6878.html

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New Jersey Minimum Wage Rises By $1.00

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Effective Wednesday, New Jersey’s minimum wage will rise by $1 to $8.25 an hour, boosting the paychecks of more than 250,000 New Jerseyans and bumping up costs for businesses with low-wage workers.

While the wage increase is immediate, the reaction by businesses may take longer to assess – especially in light of the automatic annual increases voters approved in November, guaranteeing minimum-wage workers future raises.

Businesses will “over time decide how they’re going to deal with it,” said Thomas Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think there’s going to be any huge impact in 2014 on employment statistics or anything of that nature.”

New Jersey is one of 13 states that will raise their minimum wage Wednesday, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit that advocates for raising the wage.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140101_N_J__minimum_wage_to_rise_by__1_on_Jan__1.html#3TmFBGTdz1KdCXTH.99

Reading City Council Approves Budget, Tax Hikes

Editor’s note:  For those folks in Pottstown, please note that Reading is 4 times as large as Pottstown, yet their budget is only twice as big.

City Council on Monday adopted a $77 million budget for 2013, as well as the increases in property, local earned income and commuter taxes needed to make it work.

• The property tax will rise by 9.45 percent, or 1.355 mills, to a total of 15.689 mills.  An owner with a property assessed at $50,000 will pay an extra $67.75.

• The local earned income tax on city residents will rise by 0.2 percentage points to 3.6 percent.  That rate includes the Reading School District‘s share.

• And the commuter tax will rise by the same 0.2 points, to 0.3 percent.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=431486

Reading Officials Push For Increases In Taxes On Workers

Meeting today in talks to close a $5.7 million gap in the 2013 budget, the city administration and City Council urged the consultants who oversee Reading’s finances to reconsider their ban on raising local earned-income and commuter taxes.

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I don’t see how we can survive we don’t get that revenue,” Councilman Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr. said.

The city’s Act 47 financial recovery plan, written by the state-paid consultants and adopted by the city in 2010, calls for the earned-income tax on residents to remain at 1.9 percent in 2013.

It also calls for the earned-income tax on suburbanites working in the city, the commuter tax, to remain at 0.1 percent next year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=419224