2023 Annual Report Spotlight: PAYBAC Table

2023 Annual Report Spotlight: PAYBAC Table - Proteus Fund

Despite still being a relatively new coalition in 2023, the PAYBAC table made significant strides in highlighting the role corporations and billionaires play in subverting democracy in the state, using their vast fortunes for lobbying to influence the political system and rig the rules in their favor. One person in particular – Jeff Yass, Pennsylvania’s richest man – was the focus of the PAYBAC table’s #AllEyesOnYass campaign, which aimed to expose the alarming power he has exerted in Pennsylvania’s democracy and, increasingly, on the national level. Since 2022, Yass poured millions into judicial races in the state in a blatant attempt to elect ultra-conservative judges at every level to orchestrate his priorities. In addition to monitoring, tracking, and publicly sharing Yass’s lobby efforts in 2023, members of the coalition were well represented at the annual Pennsylvania Society event in Manhattan asking elected officials as they arrived to pick a side: stand for democracy or stand with the moneyed interests of a privatizing billionaire.

The PAYBAC table, which is comprised of more than a dozen base-building organizations representing communities of color and working-class communities across the state of Pennsylvania, also launched a series of educational trainings for the staff and leaders of its members. This curriculum, aimed at preparing groups across Pennsylvania around a shared power analysis ahead of 2024, covers Yass and other billionaires and corporations’ role in stopping progress on the issues that matter most to working Pennsylvanians. Over 100 leaders from across the state have participated in the training program, which has now grown to include a train-the-trainer workshop to help expand its reach and increase public awareness.

Hear Arielle Klagsbrun, Deputy Campaign Director for the Action Center on Race and Economy (ACRE), an anchor organization in the PAYBAC table, talk about the impact of the coalition’s work in 2023 and working with Piper Fund.