Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 10, 2010

Budget Updates

State Budget

Now that the House and Senate have completed their budget hearings, the House Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill containing the Governor’s proposed budget. Representatives will then have time to file amendments to the bill, which are due by March 15.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is preparing to hold a vote on the state budget bill and related legislation by the end of this month.


Philadelphia Budget

Last week Mayor Nutter delivered his budget proposal to City Council. The City of Philadelphia is facing a $120 to $150 million deficit for coming fiscal year and a $500 to $700 million deficit over the next five years.

While last year the city faced a deficit by cutting services, this year the mayor is looking at other ways to make ends meet. Below are some of the things the Mayor proposed to raise revenue:

  • The “Keep Philly Clean” Service Fee - The fee will cost the average property owner $5.77/week or $300/year and will raise approximately $108 million annually. Under the proposal, it is scheduled to start in July 2010. To offset the new fee, low-income homeowners can receive a $100 credit thought the Real Estate Tax Installment program. All homeowners will be eligible to earn between $100 and $400 by participating in the City’s Recycling Rewards program, which rewards residents for recycling.
  • The “Healthy Philadelphia Initiative” – 150 participating stores, including local grocery stores and pharmacies, will include a two cent per ounce tax on retailers based on their annual sales volume of sugar-sweetened beverages. This tax would add up to $77.2 million per year. This tax would begin in January 2011. During the first six months, the City will collect $38.6 million in revenue.

Now that the Mayor has delivered his budget, City Council has begun hearings on the proposal. Citizen testimony will be allowed on certain days (TBD) and some meetings may be held in communities on weekends or after regular business hours. In order to pass a budget, the Mayor and Council must agree on budget terms and a majority of Council - nine of the 17 members - must approve it.

Did You Know...
That workers who participate in the Industry Partnership program have seen an average 6.62% increase in their wages within the first year after training?

HB 2230, currently in the House Committee on Labor Relations, will institutionalize Industry Partnerships to ensure that this important program remains in Pennsylvania for years to come. If you or your clients have benefited from Industry Partnerships, please let your legislators know by emailing or calling their offices.


Action Alerts

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Essential Services

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.

Three Things the Coalition is Asking Everyone to Do:

  1. 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.
  2. Visit House and Senate members while they are home on recess.
  3. Urge members of your staff, board of directors and consumers to get involved.

Your organization can also join the Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Essential Services to stay informed and participate in collective budget action throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Go to http://pabudgetnow.wordpress.com for more information.


Important Programs and Action Steps:

CHIP: In October of 2009, 197,150 children in Pennsylvanians were enrolled in CHIP, which was an increase of 13,259 children since just January of 2009. CHIP has become a vital program that parents and children rely upon when they are unable to find affordable coverage. If you or your clients have benefited from CHIP, please contact your representatives today and let them know how important this program is.

State Supplemental Program: Help restore cuts to the State Supplemental Payments for Pennsylvania’s elderly, disabled, and blind. As a result of the 2009-2010 budget, the state supplement has now been cut each month by $5 for a single person and $10 for a couple. If you believe the payments are important. please contact your state legislators and urge them to find ways to restore this cut.

adultBasic: Over 350,000 people are on the waiting list for adultBasic. While those on the waiting list can pay full price for the program until they can access the program, but the cost to buy in has increased 80 percent. Meanwhile, coverage under the Governor’s 2010-2011 budget will not expand beyond 50,000 people. If you or your clients believe that when 12 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are without health care, programs that assist them are essential and need to be expanded, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Industry Partnership Program: 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.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs: 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.

Child Care Subsidy: At least 16,000 families are on the waiting list to receive the child care subsidy. The subsidy allows parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for child care, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

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