James: This senior wants respect for minimum wage workers

Tax client JamesAnyone can wear a Steelers jacket, but James is a Pittsburgh native and lifelong resident. He first found out about Just Harvest’s free tax assistance program from a newspaper and has been coming to its South Side location for four years.

Though at 66-years-old he’s past the age of retirement, James describes himself as a working man. He’d had many hobbies in his youth, but these days he says his hobby is just getting up in the morning.

James explained that his work as a porter and a cleaner helps him manage his living expenses, but that he doesn’t earn enough to make progress toward getting out of debt. This also means he can’t take vacations since he needs to keep his income steady to make ends meet.

James wants politicians to know that taxes should be for everyone, and that the rich need to be paying their fair share to keep the economy healthy. He wishes that decision-makers would come live in his shoes. “Someone should bring them to a soup kitchen so they get a sense of what need looks like.”

Maximizing low-income households’ tax refund is critically important; it can lift them out of poverty. James sees the extra cash as like “getting a raise” – a much-deserved one. He spoke passionately about minimum wage workers being the engine that keeps the economy running, as they spend money that comes in instead of saving it.

We couldn’t agree more.

For fifteen years Just Harvest has worked to put tax dollars back into the pockets of those who need it most, while lobbying in Harrisburg and D.C. for fairer tax laws that prioritize the well-being of low- and middle-income households rather than the wealthy. And we will keep fighting to raise the minimum wage until it’s an actual living wage with legitimate cost of living raises every year.

Because everyone should be able to retire in comfort, take vacations, enjoy their senior years. People shouldn’t have to work into their old age just to keep from going hungry.

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