As the State House is preparing to vote on the Governor’s budget proposal, this week’s E-Newsletter is focusing on the State Budget including updates and action steps.
House to Vote on Budget Today
Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Governor’s proposed budget bill.
The Representatives are voting early this year, 100 days before the budget is due, to show their commitment to have an on-time budget – after a 101-day delay in passing last year’s budget. If the bill passes the House, it will then go to the Senate where it is expected to stay for some time.
Potential Amendments to State Budget Mean Cuts to Education and Other Services
Two Representatives have filed amendments to the Budget Bill that would cut funding. The amendments are meant to halt or hinder natural gas drilling on state land in the Marcellus Shale. The amendments include:
- Representative Greg Vitali's amendment, which would take $110 million from education funding.
- Representative David Levdansky's amendment, which would cut $110 million from Corrections, Probation and Parole, Department of Public Welfare administration, Economic Development and Basic Education.
While the state budget is very tight this year, it is crucial for legislators to hear from their constituents about programs that cannot and should not see more cuts this year. Even programs that are not undergoing large cuts need to be advocated for to ensure that changes are not made to their funding during the budget debates. Below we have highlighted just a few of those programs:
Every child should grow up in a home where he or she feels safe and part of a loving and nurturing family. Yet in 2008, Pennsylvania’s child welfare system investigated more than 25,000 reports of child abuse and provided in-home services to the families of more than 120,000 children to address the underlying causes of child abuse and neglect (such as substance abuse or inadequate housing). Cutting funds to programs and services that protect children will mean that fewer children will be protected.
If you or your clients find child welfare programs to be important, please contact your state legislators today and let them know just how important the programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.
Adult Literacy and Family Education
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.
Particularly during a recession, programs that provide workers with the tools, skills, and contacts to find stable and better paying jobs are crucial. Workers who participate in the Industry Partnership program have seen an average 6.62 percent increase in their wages within the first year after training, meaning they are better able to support themselves and/or their families.
If you or your clients have benefited from Industry Partnerships, please let your legislators know by emailing or calling their offices and ask them to keep funding this program.
Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is forming a coalition to bring together individuals, organizations and coalitions working for a state budget that funds essential public services, invests in the future, and has a fair and stable revenue structure.
Coalition members will work in support of:
- A balanced approach to the state budget shortfall.
- A state budget that builds upon sound public investments.
- A state budget that addresses the immediate crisis and prepares for the future.
- A state budget that includes productive, stable revenue that reflect today’s economy.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition (formally the Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Essential Services) is a broad-based coalition of over 80 nonprofits, local government and private sector agencies that provide essential services to improve the quality of life for people of this region. Pennsylvania’s budget impasse last year had a devastating impact on children, families, seniors, people with disabilities, other vulnerable members of our communities, and the organizations and agencies that serve them.
The Coalition has come together again this year to urge the Governor and the General Assembly to:
- Spare cuts to the state’s most vulnerable residents in 2011 and pass a budget that provides adequate support for Pennsylvania’s children, families, seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations; and
- Use additional sources of revenue to protect all Pennsylvanians and the organizations that serve our communities.
- Write to your House and Senate members. Tell them how the proposed cuts would impact the people your organization serves. Urge them to increase state revenue to fund the essential services your organization provides.
- Visit House and Senate members while they are home on recess.
- Urge members of your staff, board of directors and consumers to get involved.
Your organization can also join the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition to stay informed and participate in collective budget action throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Go to http://pabudgetnow.wordpress.com for more information.
PathWays PA Information and Initiatives
PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances
PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new helpful handbook for managing money written specifically for teens, Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.
This guide not only discusses what teens should understand about their finances, it also assists them in planning for their future.
The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.
Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA
PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.
If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.
PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.
Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm
PathWays PA EARN Center
926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600.
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm
PathWays PA Administrative Office
310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022.
Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)
J. Lewis Crozer Library
620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454.
Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
The following Saturdays:
Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm
Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000.
The following Tuesdays:
January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
10am - 2pm
Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!
Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth
The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.
Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.
The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!
Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.
For additional information please call 215-574-9194.
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!
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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.