Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - February 24, 2010

State Budget Update

Two weeks ago, Governor Rendell announced his budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year calling for overall spending of $26.3 billion.

The Appropriation Committees of the General Assembly are currently holding hearings where each department is testifying on their specific budget proposals. The House is scheduled to have their hearings completed by February 25th and the Senate will continue to hear from the departments until March 3rd.

You can see a list of the hearings for the House and Senate online.


Philadelphia Budget Update

While Philadelphians brace for another potential snowstorm, the city has already spent about $15 million on snow removal. This cost only adds to the city’s deficit, which is estimated at $150 million (least years deficit was $257 million). The Governor has said he will apply for federal aid to help Philadelphia and other parts of the state with the unexpectedly high costs of numerous storms.

Mayor Nutter is scheduled to give his budget address on March 4th. With the large deficit, it is likely the Mayor will be proposing major cuts to programs and funding.


Some Results from United Way of Pennsylvania Survey

Last year during the 101-day budget impasse, social service agencies had to go without state funding at a time when their services were most needed. According to a survey of 350 agencies conducted by the United Way of Pennsylvania, many agencies are still recovering. Of the agencies surveyed:
  • 61 percent cut services,
  • 41 percent laid off workers,
  • 23 percent are dealing with unexpected deficits,
  • 15 percent are struggling to rehire staff lost to layoffs,
  • 39 percent reported missing a rent or mortgage payment,
  • 46 percent missed a utility payment,
  • 80 percent reduced their supplies,
  • 86 percent are getting less state aid than in previous years, and
  • 56 percent raised less from private donations in 2009 compared to 2008.

While social service agencies struggled and continue to struggle with less funding or deficits, 89 percent report an increase in demand for services.


Did You Know...


That over 350,000 people are on the waiting list for adultBasic, yet the cost to buy into the program has increased 80 percent and coverage will not expand beyond 50,000 people in the proposed budget?

If you or your clients believe that while 12 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are without health care programs that assist them to find affordable coverage are essential and need to be expanded, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.


Contact Your Legislators to Stop Cuts to Early Childhood Education Programs

Investments in high quality early childhood education are critical for Pennsylvania’s future, yet in the governor’s budget proposal these programs are being cut.
  • Pre-K Counts was cut by $475,000
  • Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program was cut by $784,000
  • Child Care Works and Keystone STARS rely heavily on nearly $41.7 million in federal ARRA funding, which will go away after 2011.
Support early childhood education programs by contacting your legislator and urging them to support such important programs as Pre-K Counts, Head Start, Child Care Works, and Keystone.


Did You Know...

For every $1 Pennsylvania invests in early childhood programs, more than $2 is circulated throughout our local economies

If you or your clients have been impacted by cuts or proposed cuts to early childhood programs, please contact your state legislators today and let them know how important the programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.


The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s Annual Budget Summit

Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for a mini-summit on the state budget. They will take an in-depth look at the budget (this year and next) and discuss the options for protecting core services and preserving our long-term economic success.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 1-4:30 p.m.
WHERE: Grace Methodist Church, Harrisburg PA

Learn the latest about:
  • Governor Rendell's Proposed Budget for 2010-11
  • Communications Strategies That Win
  • Understanding Sales Tax Modernization and Other Revenue Options
  • Pennsylvania's Pension Challenges
  • Protecting the Safety Net: Public Welfare Under Siege
Registration is free, and lunch is included. Register for the Budget Summit today!

If you have any questions, email Kathleen Daugherty or call her at 717-255-7159.


What else you can do:
  • Urge Immediate Extension of State Fiscal Relief - If you believe that fiscal relief needs to be extended, please sign on to this letter. Please also take a minute to call Senators Casey and Specter and your member of the U.S. House to urge the extension of FMAP.
  • The Industry Partnership program has leveraged $55 million in matching funds for its work in helping businesses create a skilled workforce. If you or your clients have been impacted by the Industry Partnership program, please contact your state legislators today and let them know how important the program to you and to Pennsylvania.
  • The greatest predictor of a child's future academic success is the literacy level of the child's mother. Adult education and family literacy programs are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to become self-sufficient. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for literacy, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

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