It is now over a month past the due date for the Commonwealth’s budget. The House-Senate Conference Committee has suspended their meetings but legislators and their staff continue to meet behind closed doors to negotiate the budget. It is incredibly important to keep reminding your legislators of what programs Pennsylvania cannot afford to cut.
Over the weekend, another budget proposal emerged that works with a House Bill that was similar to Senate Bill 850. This proposal was amended by increasing education funding by $150 million and including funding for social service programs, such as those for individuals with autism and disabilities. The proposal also cuts most state agencies by 12%.
In the meantime, Governor Edward Rendell stated that he will consider a “stop-gap” budget to pay state workers and vendors until a budget agreement is reached. If the House passes Senate Bill 850, the Governor could then use his line-item veto, or “blue-line”, power to cross out all but about 75 line items in the budget. The Governor plans to authorize roughly $4 billion in temporary spending to pay government workers and cover essential government operations, which would not include schools, hospitals and social service organizations.
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…”
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 can’t afford to do without.
Restore Funding for Industry Partnerships
The Industry Partnership program brings together employer consortiums that promote opportunities to improve and expand the workforce, which is particularly important during this recession yet eliminated under some budget proposals.
It is important that legislators continue to hear from constituents and businesses in their districts in support of funding for this critical program. Please call to your legislators and speak in favor of the Industry Partnership and worker training programs.
Specifically, please ask legislators to restore the following items in the budget:
Training Activities $11,754,000
(Listed under the Department of Labor and Industry-Section 217, page 100, lines 4-5)
Industry Partnerships $3,613,000
(Listed under the Department of Labor and Industry-Section 217, page 103, lines 14-15)
Talking points and a sample letter are both available.
Events and Information
Save the Date - Bridging the Pennsylvania Network: Linking Food Production and Distribution with Food Security
The PA Association of Regional Food Banks, the PA Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Food Distribution, and the PA Hunger Action Center has collaborated to plan a series of three forums to take place over the next year.
The first of these forums will occur Wednesday, September 16th, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show VIP Room.
The objective for these forums is to build a mass of interested parties from all aspects of the “food shed” into an identifiable and interactive Pennsylvania Food Network.
The first forum will include emergency food assistance providers, government and NGO food agencies, and anti-hunger advocates. The objectives for this meeting will be to:
- gain an appreciation of the scope of this network component
- gain an understanding of organizational commonalities as the departure point for ongoing communication and coordination
- initiate discussion and plans for partnership development to be addressed in the second session
For more information please email email@example.com or call 724-743-3001.
Funding Alert: Facility Investment Program
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) there is approximately $525 million available through competitive grants for a one-time facility improvement opportunity to support existing health centers. The purpose of the grant is to support health center efforts to expand their capacity to provide primary and preventive health services to medically underserved populations nationwide, as well as create employment opportunities in underserved communities over the next 2 years. This funding is meant to assist with significant and pressing capital improvement needs in health centers, including construction and renovation.
The application deadline for this grant is August 6th.
For more information about this funding opportunity contact Marie Legaspi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-594-4319. You can also visit www.sestak.house.gov and look for information under the ARRA research directory.
GREEN Institute – Generating Real Economic Equality Now
Interested in linking women with jobs in the expanding green economy? Have an existing training program or looking to tailor one for women? Thinking about starting a new program to meet the need in your economy?
The Ms. Foundation is providing funding for Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) for ten partnerships to attend an intensive training event October 27 and 28 in Washington, DC. Following the training, WOW will provide one-on-one technical assistance for a year.
For more information, contact WOW at 202-4641596 or email@example.com. The deadline for applying is August 26.