March 12 is Equal Pay Day, marking how long American women must work into the year to earn the same salary as their male counterparts. Women working full-time, year round, earned 84 cents for every dollar made by men in 2022, which was the most recent data available. This gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. CNN’s Jeanne Sahadi reports

If part-time workers and those not employed year-round are included, the gender pay gap is worse, at 78 cents on the dollar, said Deborah Vagins, national campaign director of Equal Rights Advocates and director of Equal Pay Today. The size of the actual wage gap between men and women will widen or narrow depending on age, level of education, choice of occupation and tenure, as well as race and ethnicity. The gender pay gap is typically widest when comparing the earnings of White men to Black, Hispanic or Native American women.

Louisiana women are paid just 66 cents for every dollar made by men, the third-highest gender pay gap in the nation, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. Louisiana law requires state agencies to pay women employees the same as a male employee doing the same work, but it does not apply to private businesses. Efforts to apply equal pay policies more broadly have been routinely rejected by the state Legislature, including last year

Eliminating property taxes isn’t easy – or cheap

Lawmakers in several states are proposing legislation that would eliminate property taxes. These efforts are usually derailed once leaders try to identify ways to replace the massive amount of revenue generated by property taxes. As Governing’s Zina Hutton reports, the elimination of property, income and inheritance taxes would require an increase in consumption taxes, which put a disproportionate burden on low-income households. 

Relying strictly on sales taxes would shift costs onto the backs of lower-income workers, who devote higher shares of their incomes to purchases than the wealthy, says Richard Auxier, a senior policy associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a project of the centrist think tanks. “One of the reasons we have income taxes is because it’s a way to collect more revenue from those with more means to pay for it,” Auxier says. “You can get rid of those taxes, but it’s going to take a bigger bite of lower-income people’s paychecks.”

Louisiana has the fifth-lowest property tax rate in the nation, in part because of the state’s homestead exemption, which protects the first $75,000 of a person’s primary residence from property taxes. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Tyler Bridges reported last month that the popular exemption could be targeted during a constitutional convention. Louisiana also has arguably the most generous property tax break for manufactures, the Industrial Tax Exemption Program. 

Hate crimes increased in states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws

School hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people have increased nationwide in the years following the Covid-19 pandemic. But these attacks have more than quadrupled in states that have passed laws targeting LGBTQ+ students. The Washington Post’s Laura Meckler, Hannah Natanson and John D. Harden explain how state lawmakers’ decisions to participate – and fuel – America’s divisive culture wars are leading to attacks on children:

In states that have enacted restrictive laws, there were more than four times the number of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes on average, per year, in 2021-22 compared with the years 2015-2019 across elementary, middle and high schools. … “Policy sets the tone for real-world experiences [and] discriminatory policy just creates a hostile environment,” said Amy McGehee, a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University who researches LGBTQ health and well-being.

Former Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed many harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills during his tenure. But state lawmakers overrode Edwards’ veto on gender-affirming care bans for minors last spring. State lawmakers are pushing for more harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills this legislative session, which Gov. Jeff Landry is expected to sign. 

Biden budget proposal

President Joe Biden’s budget proposal would use higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for a wide-array of new social programs and reduce the deficit. It also calls for reinstating the enhanced Child Tax Credit that helped cut America’s child poverty rate nearly in half in 2021. The budget plan, which was released Monday, has little chance of advancing through both chambers of Congress and becoming law. But as the AP’s Josh Boak and Fatima Hussein explain, Biden’s team is using the proposal as a blueprint for what could be possible if voters re-elect him in November. 

If the Biden budget became law, deficits could be pruned $3 trillion over a decade. It would raise tax revenues by a total of $4.9 trillion over that period and use roughly $1.9 trillion to fund various programs, with the rest going to deficit reduction. … Parents could get an increased child tax credit in 2025, as payments would return briefly to the 2021 level funded by Biden’s coronavirus pandemic relief package. Homebuyers could get a tax credit worth up to $10,000 and the plan includes $10 billion in down payment aid for first-generation buyers. Corporate taxes would jump upward, while billionaires would be charged a minimum tax of 25%.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Sharon Parrott supports Biden’s proposal: 

The budget reflects a significant commitment to children, cutting child poverty and improving children’s long-term prospects by reinstating the American Rescue Plan’s enormously successful Child Tax Credit expansion. 

Number of the Day

$0.34 – The gender wage gap, per dollar in Louisiana in 2022. The Pelican State had the third-highest gender wage gap in the nation. (Source: National Partnership for Women and Families)