Monday, May 24, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: May 24, 2010

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011 Philadelphia Release

PathWays PA is proud to announce the Philadelphia release of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011!

WHEN: Wednesday, June 2nd 2:00-4:00
WHERE: United Way Building of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia PA

The Standard measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place must earn to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance. The Standard is based on the cost of each basic need in each county—food, housing, health care, child care, transportation and taxes— determined independently using official and publicly available data.

Join us to learn more about the Self-Sufficiency Standard from the President and CEO of PathWays PA, Carol Goertzel, and the author of the Standard, Dr. Diana Pearce.

Please register for this event today!

Federal

House Expected to Vote on Unemployment Insurance, COBRA, and TANF Emergency Fund Extension 

In the next few days, the House is expected to vote on the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act (HR 4213), which is likely to include:
  • an extension through the end of 2010 of key Unemployment Insurance (UI),
  • an extension through the end of 2010 of COBRA health benefits for unemployed workers,
  • an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) emergency fund through September 2011, and
  • additional funding for summer youth employment programs.
If this bill does not pass, UI benefits will expire on June 2 and COBRA benefits on May 31, leaving millions of workers without essential income supports to cover rent, food and health insurance premiums while they continue to look for employment. The TANF emergency fund, expected to create 185,000 temporary jobs by the end of September, will expire on September 30, while the summer jobs program, which was responsible for putting over 300,000 youth to work in 2009, won’t be funded in 2010.

If you support these programs, please contact your Representative today to urge support of HR4213.


Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Federal Tax Policies that Make Work Pay and Help Parents

Too many low and moderate-income Pennsylvanians continue to face economic insecurity and tough choices regarding housing, food, health care, and child care. Now more than ever it remains critical that national policies assure that work pays and that families are able to retain their hard earned wages through well-targeted and fiscally responsible tax legislation.

Please sign on to a letter urging your Members of Congress to support the continuation of tax credits that effectively promote work, are family-friendly, and are good for the economy. Specifically we urge you to make the following tax policies permanent:
  • The Child Tax Credit, which was expanded as part of the economic recovery act benefiting 576,000 Pennsylvania children, allows low-income working families to count more of their wages below $13,000 to calculate their credit. If this tax credit is reversed, a mom or dad working for the minimum wage raising two children would see her/his credit cut from $1,750 to $250. The credit should also be expanded to apply to a family’s first dollar of earnings.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which was increased under the economic recovery act for families with three children, benefits 319,000 children from Pennsylvania. Previously, a family with five children received the same credit as a family with two children despite the undeniable additional costs of supporting a larger family.
  • The EITC marriage penalty relief, which the economic recovery act expanded, reduce the financial penalty some couples face when they marry. About 5 million adults and 8 million children benefit from the change.
  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit was made available to millions of low- and moderate income students for the first time under the recovery act. The credit’s maximum value increased from $1,800 to $2500.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which the President proposes to extend to more families in his FFY 2011 budget. For a family earning $50,000, the proposal would increase the maximum credit from $1,200 to $2,100.
Please sign on to urge the PA Congressional delegation to support federal tax policies that make work pay, help parents support their children and lay the foundation for America’s long term economic recovery by Tuesday, May 25.

State

Call Your State Lawmakers on Monday, May 24 & Tuesday, May 25

This week, the state House of Representatives will take up legislation (HB 2435) that will reform the tax system, raise revenue and preserve health care, education and human services.

If new revenue is not raised, the General Assembly will have to respond to the state's recession-driven budget crisis with cuts to job training, hospitals, behavioral health services, and services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. HB 2435 will raise needed revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes, enacting a severance tax on natural gas production, assessing an excise tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, and closing a sales tax giveaway.

Please contact your Representative today and tomorrow and urge him or her to support HB 2435. Below is a sample message for legislators:

I am a constituent and I want you to support HB 2435.
  • Before making additional service cuts that will hurt Pennsylvania families and our fragile economic recovery, please raise new revenue.
  • Solving the budget crisis with cuts alone will leave thousands more Pennsylvanians vulnerable and will cost jobs.
  • We can no longer afford tax loopholes and special tax preferences.
Urge Your Legislators to Support adultBasic
Even though health care reform has passed, many would be surprised to know that about 40,000 adults in Pennsylvania may be losing their access to the adultBasic program.

adultBasic is an affordable health care option for adults who have recently lost health coverage and meet certain income guidelines. Participants pay $36 a month and co-pays ranging from $10 to $50 for doctor and hospital visits. In Pennsylvania, more than 40,000 are receiving the full benefits of the program, while the waitlist stands at over 380,000.

This program is scheduled to end on December 31, 2010, when a law requiring financial support from insurance providers expires. Without additional funding, this program will end and nearly 40,000 Pennsylvanians will loose their health coverage.

If you support this program, please call, write, or email your legislators. Also please spread the word to any individuals that are currently receiving adultBasic as many are not aware that this program may expire.

Information/Events

Recruiting and Retaining Women in Green Training and Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau is pleased to host a series of teleconferences for workforce practitioners, designed to offer information and an exchange of ideas to better connect women with green jobs and green jobs training. This area of workforce development is an important part of preparing our nation to be competitive in the new economy. The teleconferences are geared towards workforce professionals, career advisors, and educators, although interested women are welcome to participate as well.

The third teleconference in this series, “Recruiting and Retaining Women in Green Training and Employment” will take place on May 25, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EDT. In this teleconference, you will hear about techniques for outreach, recruitment, and retention of women in green fields, as well as strategies to help women overcome barriers or concerns that may block their path to success.

Participation is limited, so register early! Please visit the Women's Bureau Website for more information or register here.

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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