Monday, December 28, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: December 28, 2009

State Budget Update

While the announcement of next year’s budget is almost a month away, the state legislature is still working to complete the table games legislation that plays a key part of the FY 2009-2010 budget. With that portion of the $27.8 billion state budget still unfinished, the state ledger sheet is short $250 million of being legally balanced. Gov. Ed Rendell wants a table games bill on his desk by the second week of January.

Table game legislation stalled after the House and Senate each amended and approved a bill. The Senate bill was referred back to the House on December 16th, which is in recess until January. The remaining major disagreement surrounds permitting an additional casino license in the state.

The Governor has stated that if a table games bill is not approved by January 8, 1,000 state employees will have to be laid off.

While the debate over table games continues, legislation has been signed that will allow funds to start flowing to universities, museums, and hospitals. However, funding for institutions other than the state-related universities is being cut by 50 percent


Federal

Senate Passes Health Care Reform

At 7:00 AM on December 24, Senators cast their vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The next step is for the House and Senate to bring their bills together in a Conference Committee. While the Senate bill does make great strides towards reforming health care, the House bill (minus the Stupak Amendment) is a much stronger bill that will provide more Americans with the health care they desperately need.

Please sign this letter to urge the House and Senate to finish the job of making health care affordable for more Americans by including strong regulations and consumer protections.


Urge Congress to Support Job Creation Measures

More than one in six workers - 27 million people - are out of work or working fewer hours than they want or need to. On December 15th, The House of Representatives passed the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010 (H.R. 2847) which includes important elements needed to spur job growth. However, more needs to be done, such as providing more training to help workers move into permanent jobs with good pay and benefits and preventing harsh cutbacks in state and local government jobs that will jeopardize the beginnings of the economic recovery.

This bill includes funding for such programs as:
  • an Education Jobs Funds for states
  • school renovation grants
  • extension expanded unemployment benefits
  • grants for job training in high growth fields
  • summer youth employment
  • small business loans

Please urge your members of Congress to make it their New Year’s Resolution to create more jobs for Americans and provide them with the work supports needed to keep those jobs.


Information/Events

Recession Health Care Toolkit

Whether skipping meals or delaying a trip to the doctor, the current recession is affecting the health of many, while the stress of doing more with less affects us all. Families have stopped their gym membership, cut back on healthy but more expensive foods, and even lost their jobs and/or health insurance.

The PhillyHealthInfo.org Recession Healthcare Toolkit, created by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, provides valuable information that can help you stay healthy in these troubled times. From information on insurance to dealing with stress, this website provides tips on how to cope with a wide range of issues and problems.


Healthy Philadelphia Community Meeting

Join the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to share your health care stories in the first Healthy Philadelphia Community Meeting on January 28th in North Philadelphia.

Healthy Philadelphia is a non-profit organization dedicated to working to solve heath care problems Philadelphians face. It grew out of a voter mandate, which passed by 87% in North Philadelphia, that required the Department of Health to develop a plan for universal health care.

Please attend and tell your story about the challenges you or your family have faced in getting high quality on-going health care. Please contact Mayla Henderson at 215-686-5263 or mayla.henderson@phila.gov for time and location.


Foreclosure Crisis Group

The Philadelphia Unemployment Project is hosting a Foreclosure Crisis Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 5th at 6pm at112 N. Broad Street, 11th Floor. The Foreclosure Crisis Committee is a support and advocacy group of homeowners helping each other and advocating for Philadelphia homeowners to keep their homes.

The discussion at the next meeting will be on loans for unemployed homeowners and President Obama’s Making Home Affordable plan.

For more information, call Tim Styer at 215-557-0822 or tstyer@philaup.org.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

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 Kelly Binder at kbinder@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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