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Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy

Julie Vogtman

Julie Vogtman is Director of Income Support Policy and Senior Counsel for the Family Economic Security Program at the National Women's Law Center. She works on a range of issues involving economic support for low-income women and their families, including minimum wage policies, unemployment benefits, and child care assistance. She also contributes to the Center’s work on federal budget and tax policies. Prior to joining the Center in 2010, Ms. Vogtman was an associate with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Furman University and Georgetown University Law Center.

My Take

Two Minimum Wage Bills Pass in Minnesota

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: May 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

I’ve got to hand it to Minnesota’s legislature. In addition to last week’s House vote to legalize same-sex marriage (with the Senate expected to follow suit today), the House and Senate have now each passed a bill to raise the state minimum wage!

This is especially good news for women, who make up 70 percent of Minnesota’s minimum wage workers. Raising the minimum wage would improve economic security for thousands of women while boosting the state’s economy – and it could help narrow the gender wage gap because women are the majority of workers who would benefit. In Minnesota in 2011, the typical woman working full time, year round was paid just under 80 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart.

But here’s the catch: the bills passed by the two chambers are quite different from one another. The House bill would raise the state minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2015, then index it annually to keep up with inflation. (Minnesota’s current minimum wage is actually only $6.15 per hour, but because federal minimum wage law prevails, most workers are entitled to a minimum of $7.25 per hour.) The Senate bill would raise the minimum wage to just $7.75 per hour by 2015, with no inflation adjustment.


Who Pays on Tax Day?

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: April 15, 2013 at 02:42 pm

In my first Tax Day blog post, I focused on one really unfair aspect of our tax code: the wealthiest Americans often benefit more from all sorts of deductions and exclusions than middle-income taxpayers do.

But the super-rich aren’t the only ones who might be getting a better deal from the tax code than you. If you paid even a dollar of federal income tax last year, you paid more than Facebook did. And more than FedEx. And more than Southwest Airlines. Every year, these and many other large, profitable corporations manage to take advantage of loopholes and special preferences in the tax code to avoid paying their fair share of taxes; in fact, these companies often end up with a big tax rebate. Today, Citizens for Tax Justice is calling out these tax dodgers, making the rounds in D.C. with a giant mobile billboard:

CTJ's mobile billboard


What Do Extra Tax Breaks for the Rich Cost Women & Families? A Lot.

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: April 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Happy Tax Day, everyone! When it’s time to pay my taxes, I try hard to focus on all of the important programs and services those dollars support. (You can see exactly how your own federal income taxes are spent using this nifty Tax Receipt from the National Priorities Project.)

But I have to admit – I’m also thinking about the people who make a whole lot more money than I do and get a better deal from the tax code. The fact is, super-rich taxpayers currently benefit much more than ordinary taxpayers like me from many federal income tax deductions and exclusions. For example, for a wealthy taxpayer in the top tax bracket (39.6 percent) who pays $10,000 in mortgage interest, the mortgage interest deduction is worth $3,960. For a middle-income taxpayer in the 15 percent tax bracket who pays the same $10,000 in mortgage interest, the deduction is worth only $1,500.

It’s time for the richest Americans to pay their fair share


Want Fair Pay for Women? Raise the Minimum Wage.

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: April 09, 2013 at 11:37 am

Cross-posted from Policy Mic.

April 9 is Equal Pay Day, representing the date in 2013 through which women must work to match what men earned in 2012, thanks to the persistent gap between men’s and women’s median earnings. Women working full time, year round in the United States are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and the gap is even wider for women of color; black women working full time, year round are paid only 64 cents, and Hispanic women only 55 cents, for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.

There are a number of steps the federal government can take to help close the wage gap and promote fair pay for women, like preventing and remedying pay and other discrimination (by, for example, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act) and expanding women’s access to growing, high-paying jobs that are nontraditional for their gender. And here’s another important measure to add to that list: raising the minimum wage.

Women are nearly two thirds of minimum wage earners in the United States today and represent a large majority in most of the ten largest low-paying occupations. Women’s concentration in such low-wage jobs is one of the reasons women still typically earn less than men. A woman working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour makes just $14,500 in a year – thousands of dollars below the poverty line for a mom with two kids. Pay for tipped workers – like restaurant servers, who are about 70 percent women – can be even lower: the federal tipped minimum cash wage has been frozen at just $2.13 per hour for more than 20 years.


What Do Offshore Corporate Tax Loopholes Cost Women and Families? A Lot.

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: April 05, 2013 at 01:47 pm

Tax Day (April 15) is nearly upon us. Maybe you’re scrambling to file, or maybe you’re happy to have a refund on the way. Whatever your feelings about your own taxes, it’s important to remember that taxes are essential to fund critical investments – everything from roads and bridges to education and life-saving scientific research.

But perhaps you’re thinking, “Wait a second. The roads where I live are crumbling, and the schools aren’t in such great shape either. And Washington just cut funding we need to improve our roads and our schools and help families who are struggling. I don’t think our tax code is working the way it should.” Well… you’re right. The tax code contains a bunch of special-interest loopholes and preferences that are used by the wealthy and big corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Some of the richest Americans pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families do, and some very profitable corporations manage to pay no federal income tax at all.