Monday, August 31, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: August 31, 2009

PA Budget

It is nearly September and Pennsylvania is still without a complete state budget. The Conference Committee is scheduled to meet again this Tuesday, and the current proposals stand at just under $29 billion from the House and $27.1 billion from the Senate. There has been some willingness from groups to bring their proposals more to the middle with talk of some recurring revenue included in the final bill. In the meantime, preschools and other pre-kindergarten programs are shutting their doors, along with child care centers and many other state programs.

Many institutions and organizations that rely on state funding are going without until the remainder of the budget is passed. These include our schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations, which are now faced with tough decisions that could lead to layoffs, service cuts, or having to close their doors. If you work for one of these organizations or if the services you rely on have been cut, please tell your story! Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or tell your story to PathWays PA. We will share these stories on our blog and in our e-newsletters.

If you are upset about the 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…”

During this recession, some budget cuts are inevitable. But too many cuts will lead to long-term impacts on our families, our health, and our economy at a time when we cannot afford to do without.


Federal

Remembering Senator Kennedy

Last week, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), an outspoken and respected force among legislators, died at the age of 77. Senator Kennedy’s interest in health care reform began in the 1960s and, during his later years, became the cornerstone of his career. Yet, his dedication to expanding coverage and access to many other services and institutions that assist Americans and their families will also be honored, as many of us continue to the fight to provide care for families in need.

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” – Sen. Ted Kennedy, 1980 Democratic Convention


Tell Your House and Senate Members to Support Comprehensive Health Care Reform!

Please join the Direct Care Alliance in asking your representatives in Congress to support comprehensive health care reform -- and to make sure it includes initiatives to support direct care workers.

Hearing from you, their constituents, will bring this issue to their attention and tell them that voters care about whether they support it.

To contact your legislator please click here.

For more information about health care reform visit PathWays PA’s Policy Blog and click on the tag “hcr”.


Urge Your Legislators to Fund Nutrition Program

The House and Senate recently passed a version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill and are negotiating the differences in the Conference Committee. Please contact your Members of Congress and urge them to champion nutrition program funding in the conference. This funding is vital to provide critically needed food and nutrition support for low-income families and individuals. Members of the House and Senate Subcommittee are the first contacts to make, followed by other House and Senate members. FRAC is also offering a comparison of the House and Senate nutrition program funding levels.

For additional information, contact Ellen Teller, eteller@frac.org, 202-986-2200, x3013 or Etienne Melcher, emelcher@frac.org, x3012.


State

Support Earned Sick Time

When people are sick, the best place for them to be is home or in the hospital in order to get the care they need and prevent the spread of illness. However, in Pennsylvania, 46 percent of all workers have no access to earned sick time, which means if they or their family members get sick, they are stuck in a no-win situation: work sick, or stay home and lose their pay (or their jobs).

Earned sick time is good for public health, its smart for business, and it helps individuals find and keep economic security.

If you would like to learn more about Earned Sick Time please visit PathWays PA’s Policy Blog and click on the tag “earned sick time”. You can also visit our Earned Time Facebook page where you can share your story about how having earned time has helped you or how not having it has been a struggle.



Industry Partnership Program

Unfortunately, the importance and critical need of the Industry Partnership Program is getting lost in the state budget reporting. Right now there is no funding included for this important program in some of the budgets being proposed.

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. 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


Information

Learn How to Use New Data about Poverty and Health Insurance

In September, the Census Bureau will release the first surveys showing some of the recession's impact on poverty, income and the number of uninsured.
On Wednesday, September 2, from 2:00-3:00, the Coalition on Human Needs and the Half in Ten Campaign: From Poverty to Prosperity are sponsoring a training session about how to use this data:
  • to talk about growing poverty and lost income, both nationally and in states and communities, and to make the connection to the steps government should take
  • to underscore the need for health care reform
This webinar will give special emphasis to the use of state and local data, so you can talk about the impacts in your state and community.

Click here to register.



Financial Advice and Assistance – Get Help Now!

"Get Help Now PA!” is a volunteer initiative to connect Pennsylvanians facing financial difficulties with advice and assistance from professionals in their communities.

Volunteer professionals will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at locations across the Commonwealth to provide free assistance and referrals on issues related to credit, finance, and bankruptcy.

For more information, call toll-free 1-888-799-4557 or visit the Get Help PA website.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

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