Monday, October 12, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: October 12, 2009

PA Budget

Pennsylvania’s budget impasse finally ended Friday night when Governor Rendell signed the three bills, taxes, spending, and the fiscal code, necessary to complete the budget.

The $27.799 billion budget does not include any broad-based tax increases and will spend $500 million less than last year’s.

Under the budget:
  • Adult and Family Literacy will receive funding of $17,687,000 (more than in SB 850, but less than in the Governor’s original budget)
  • Children’s Health Insurance will receive $97,112,000 in funding (more than in SB 850 or the Governor’s budget)
  • New Choices, New Options will receive $1,500,000 in funding (after being zeroed out in SB 850)
  • Industry Partnerships will receive $2,000,000 in funding (after being zeroed out in SB 850, but had been expected to receive over 3 million under the three-caucus budget)
  • Child Care Assistance will receive $198,147,000 in funding (the same as under SB 850, and less than the Governor’s original budget)
The revenue bill and overall plan:
  • raises the cigarette taxes,
  • delays the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax,
  • legalizes table games at slot-machine casinos,
  • expands gas drilling on state-owned land,
  • levies a gross receipts tax on managed care organizations (which would trigger the release of hundred of millions of dollars in federal assistance),
  • makes major withdrawals from the Rainy Day Fund, and
  • withdraw funding from the surplus of the MCARE fund.
While having a state budget is a relief, the impact of the cuts to programs and services throughout the state are still being assessed.

Members of the Governor’s staff and the Treasury Office planned to work through the weekend to process payments to social services. The Governor is also considering that the state pay the interest on loans taken out by the social services, but that will depend on whether Pennsylvania can afford the extra costs.

Even though the budget has passed and was signed, lawmakers still have work to do on a gaming bill that would allow table games in casinos. House and Senate negotiators are still working on the tax rates for the games and the one-time license fees that casino operators would be required to pay. A vote is expected as early as Tuesday on these issues.

Please continue to see our PathWays PA Policy Blog for updates on the budget and other important policy issues.



Federal

Healthy Families Act Sign On Letter

The National Partnership for Women and Families is seeking more supporters to sign on to a letter urging legislators to support the Healthy Families Act. This Act is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that would guarantee workers up to seven paid sick days a year to recover from short-term illness, to care for a sick family member, for routine medical care, or to seek assistance related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

It is crucial that all members of Congress understand the importance of this bill, especially in this economic climate where a basic workplace standard of paid sick days would help prevent workers from being forced to choose between their own health or the health of their family and their paychecks or even their jobs.

For more information about the Healthy Families Act please visit the National Partnership’s website. If you or your organization would like to sign onto a support letter please contact Steffany Stern at sstern@nationalpartnership.org.



Information/Events

PathWays PA – PathWays to the Stars 31st Anniversary Celebration

For the past 31 years, PathWays PA has offered residential programs and social services to vulnerable women and their children. Now, more than ever, the economic climate and rising unemployment rate emphasize the need for agencies like PathWays PA. We could never do the work we do and lend support to our 6,000 low-income clients without daily generosity from our corporate and individual donors. This year, at the PathWays to the Stars 31st Anniversary Celebration, we would like to pay tribute to those who assist us as we strive to help those in need.

WHEN: Thursday, October 29th 6:30 – 9:00
WHERE: Valley Forge Radisson 1160 First Ave, King of Prussua

As part of the event there will be a silent auction with items such as a corporate box at Citizens Bank Park, gift certificates to a number of amazing restaurants, and tickets to local cultural events. In addition to the silent auction each week the PathWays PA website will feature a different auction item. This week’s featured item is a Myrtle Beach Getaway.

Tickets to the PathWays to the Stars Celebration are only $50 in advance and $60 at the door, so please plan to join us! You can purchase tickets online by clicking here.


October 18-23: Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

On Tuesday, October 6th, Congress approved a resolution to designate the week of October 18, 2009 Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. This is a one-time only dedication and opportunity to elevate adult education and family literacy nationwide with policymakers, the media, and the community.

The National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) has created a resource collection in the NCL Advocacy Clearinghouse and Toolkit, to support efforts to raise awareness and celebrate the week. Resources include the latest fact sheets, sample press releases, and commemoration ideas for raising awareness for program directors, instructors, and partners.

Join the U.S. House of Representatives and NCL in honoring adult learners nationwide. Show your support for increasing access to adult education and family literacy programs to ensure a literate society.


2009 EITC Forum

The 2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Forum is a one day training especially designed for executive, deputy and program directors; VITA site coordinators; managers of asset development and financial literacy programs; VISTA volunteers and anyone interested in learning new and exciting ways to assist families achieve success.

WHEN: November 10
WHERE: Harrisburg Hilton and Towers

Conference registration includes all speakers, workshops, lunch and breaks.

For more information on the event, hotel accommodations, and registration please click here.

Filled with unique presentations and ready-to-take home examples, you will not be disappointed with the knowledge gained during the 2009 EITC Forum.


No Cost Legal Consultation

The Women’s Resource Center and the Chester County Office OIC is offering legal consultation at no cost.

WHEN: 2nd Tuesday of Each Month
WHERE: Chester County OIC, 790 E. Market Street, West Chester PA 19382

Individuals will get one on one consultation with an attorney to discuss
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child support
  • Other family law matters
To register call 610-687-6931.


Free Training on Tax Credits for Working Families

Did you know that federal tax credits for families have been expanded and are now more valuable than ever? But unfortunately, millions of families do not even know to ask for the credits they are eligible for.

The National Women’s Law Center is providing the information and tools on this expansion by offering two free webinar trainings. These free trainings will teach you about family tax credits and access to free easy to use resources.

Part I — Tax Credits: What Working Families Need to Know
Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (1 hour)

Get the facts about how tax credits can give working families a leg up, and learn how to help spread the word.

Part II - Tax Credits Outreach: Tips and Tools for Service Providers and Advocates
Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (1 hour)

You can make a big difference for families by making sure families get the information they need. Learn about simple outreach activities that can make a major impact, often building on other networks and campaigns that can make a big difference for working families. This webinar will help you:
  • Get free outreach materials
  • Connect with local coalitions
  • Find free tax preparation services in your community and
  • Learn some successful techniques for spreading the word about tax credits.
These webinars are part of the National Women's Law Center's Citi Education Series on Family Economic Security and the Tax Credits Outreach Campaign.


Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Greg Potestio at gpotestio@pathwayspa.org.


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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