Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - July 15, 2009

PathWays PA Budget Alert!

We are currently in the third week of the fiscal year without a budget for the Commonwealth. While the Governor and General Assembly are in negotiations, important programs are still at risk of being cut. Legislators have expressed surprise at not hearing from their constituents on certain important issues. It is incredibly important to keep reminding your legislators of what programs Pennsylvania cannot afford to cut.

If you are upset about these budget proposals, which include cuts ranging from education to hospitals to the elimination of the Industry Partnership program, please tell your legislators how you would finish this sentence: “If the choice is between reducing/eliminating spending on hospitals, burn units, Industry Partnerships, and childcare, or increasing revenues, I would support…”

For more information throughout the week on the budget and other issues, be sure to check out the PathWays PA Policy Blog.



Today - Rally in Capitol Rotunda

Join workforce community advocates as they hold a rally urging legislators to fund critical programs to help people find and keep jobs, such as Industry Partnerships.

WHEN: July 15 -11:00 AM
WHERE: Main Capitol Rotunda

Carol Goertzel, President and CEO of PathWays PA, will be one of the speakers.

Workforce development programs are key investments in our future. Please join this rally to show your support and the need for continued funding to help workers.


A Personal Story Updated – Zee Hurst

Current PathWays PA client, Zee Hurst, along with many CHIP recipients, are concerned that under a new Pennsylvania budget individuals who are currently receiving CHIP may be disenrolled if funding is not continued into the current fiscal year.

During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who have been ineligible without the Cover All Kids program. However, current budget proposals rescind this CHIP provision, which could result in up to 12,000 kids being cut from the program.

For single mom Zee Hurst, who recently lost her job and has two children with asthma, CHIP has been a lifesaver. Through CHIP she has been able to keep her children healthy, both physically and mentally. It has allowed her to keep her children out of the emergency room and find support for her son, so he could learn to cope with the lose of his father. He is now an outgoing honor roll student.

For more information on Ms. Hurst’s story please read The Delaware County Daily Times’ recent article, “Low Income Families Fear Children’s Health Care Cuts.”


CHIP – Cover All Kids

Take Action! During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who would not have been eligible without the Cover All Kids program.
  • However, current budget proposals rescind this CHIP provision, which could result in up to 12,000 kids being cut from the program.
  • Even during an economic crisis, it is important to pay attention to the long-term effects of short-term cuts.
  • A recent report from Rice University puts the cost of health insurance through age 18 at $7,451, while the benefits equate to as much at $15,000.

Industry Partnerships

Take Action! Industry Partnerships are consortiums that allow employers to improve and expand their workforce by bringing together companies committed to the development of their workforce.
  • This program provides workers with access to training that gives them the skills necessary to maintain jobs and obtain employment with sufficient wages so workers can adequately support their families.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 6,300 businesses are involved with more than 70 Industry Partnerships across the state and more than 70,000 workers have been trained since 2005.
  • On average, those workers have seen their wages rise by 6.62 percent within the first year after receiving the training.
  • Read more about how the Industry Partnership program is helping in one county


Child Care Work Subsidies

Take Action! The Child Care Works Subsidies allow parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care.
  • For many parents the cost of child care may be more than they bring home in a paycheck.
  • Currently in Pennsylvania, over 16,000 are eligible for the child care subsidies but are currently on the waitlist, where some families remain for months.
  • In the meantime, they must pay more than they can afford for child care, provide childcare through an unreliable patchwork of friends, family, or substandard facilities, or risk losing their jobs at a time when employment is hard to find.
  • For more information please see a new report from PCCY, “Child Care Works, A Program with a Growing Need


Adult Education and Family Literacy

Take Action! Adult education and family literacy are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient. In Pennsylvania, the Senate proposal cuts adult literacy by 29% and the House is considering a 12% cut. Please contact your representatives today to let them know the importance of this program!


Budget Update


Currently, the House is considering two budget proposals:

One, House Bill 1416 with amendment, builds on Governor Rendell’s February budget. This proposal would move $1.2 billion of higher education line items out of the general fund budget and into a new Higher Education Fund, which would be funded through some form of revenue increase. The amendment would cut $500 million from the Governor’s proposal by cutting funds from such programs as Pre-K Counts. Early Intervention, Maternal and Child Health, and Teen Pregnancy and Parenting. This proposal will add funding to Adult Family and Literacy, Library Services, Life Long Learning,

Another proposal, A02617, attempts to balance the budget through a combination of cuts and one-time revenue injections totaling an estimated $1.8 billion.

This proposal continues many of the eliminations and reductions found in SB 850, such as:
  • Elimination of the Commission for Women, Council on the Arts, and Juvenile Court Judges Commission
  • Reduction of Pre-K counts by 50%
  • Elimination of the Industry Partnership Program
  • Reduction of funding for Child Care Assistance
  • Elimination of Legal Services funding

As compared to other budget proposals, this House proposal increases funding for adult and family literacy, Community Colleges, and hospitals.
Additional funding will come from
  • Elimination of the 25 Cent Cigarette Tax Transfer
  • Rainy Day Fund Transfer
  • Health Care Provider Retention Account Transfer
  • Tobacco Endowment Account Transfer
  • Marcellus Shale Land Lease
  • Tax Amnesty Program
  • Additional Revenues Proposed by Governor Rendell

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