Over the years of debating the state budget, Pennsylvania has seen many important programs on the chopping block. Some of these programs assist with adult literacy and education, job training, child care, health care, or other work supports. It is important to know just how expensive it is for working families to make ends meet and how much work supports and education can mean to a family when the budget is being debated.
In light of this need for data, PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011, which shows the cost of making ends meet in every county in Pennsylvania. With this report, we can now see just how much Pennsylvania families need to earn and why so many working adults and families are struggling.
Please join us in Harrisburg to learn more about this important publication.
WHEN: Thursday, May 20th - 10:00 AM
WHERE: Harrisburg - Capitol Rotunda
WHO: Sandi Vito, Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry, and more!
Please call Kate Scully at 610-543-5022 x 255 to let us know if you can attend, and please bring your colleagues. Copies of the report will be available.
Can't Make it to Harrisburg? Join us for the Philadelphia Release on June 2 at 2 PM!
Come to this Release and learn more about the Self-Sufficiency Standard, what this edition says about Pennsylvania, and to learn ways you can use the Standard in your work.
WHO: Carol Goertzel, President & CEO of PathWays PA
Dr. Diana Pearce, Author of the Study
WHEN: Tuesday, June 2nd 2:00 - 4:00
WHERE: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA
To register please visit: http://releaseofselfsufficiencystandard.eventbrite.com/.
With the primary elections over, the General Assembly will return to session next week. Both the House and Senate will continue their work on the budget, with the House considering a bill that will raise revenue by closing corporate loopholes, enact a severance tax on natural gas production, assess an excise tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, and close a sales tax giveaway. (To learn more about this bill and related actions, please see our Action Alerts section below.)
Local Impacts: How School Are Faring During this Difficult Budget Season
As the school districts wait for the state’s budget many are already making cuts and raising taxes in anticipation of another difficult budget season. Below are some examples of how local school districts are dealing with limited budgets.
- Bangor Area School District’s budget could change with state dollars but preliminary budget proposals cut 32 staff positions.
- William Penn School District’s preliminary budget increases taxes and cuts 29 staff positions, yet the budget still has a $388,000 gap.
- Erie School District’s budget proposal would eliminate 40 jobs.
- Upper Darby School District’s budget cuts staff and increases taxes.
- Phoenixville School Board will eliminate early language programs due to fiscal pressures.
- Scranton School District may be facing teacher cuts.
- Towanda School District announced that inadequate state funding could mean larger class sizes and fewer electives.
- Red Lion School Board plans to consider further cuts in order to keep taxes down. They have already cut six teaching positions.
- Chambersburg School Board approved a budget that eliminates 39 positions and closes an elementary school.
- Hollidaysburg School Board is considering its options as the proposed budget has $608,000 deficit.
More information about schools can be found on Twitter by following @paschoolfunding.
Last week, City Counsel moved toward passage of a budget for Philadelphia by approving a $3.9 million tentative budget deal.
The deal did not include a tax on sugary drinks but instead had a two-year 9.9 percent increase in property tax. It would raise $86 million for the city in 2011 and increase the average bill for property owners by $113 a year. The increase is scheduled to end in 2013, when rates would return to current levels.
The Council budget package also included new taxes on cigars and smokeless tobacco to raise $4 million and a $300 trash-collection fee for small businesses and multiunit dwellings that would raise $7 million.
Mayor Nutter does not believe that the revenue package that passed City Council will be enough to leave the city with enough surplus to cover unexpected costs. He plans to continue trying to convince City Council to pass a tax on sugary drinks. The original tax was to be 2 cents per ounce and has now been reduced to a ¾ of a cent per ounce tax.
Act Now to Prevent New Round of Budget Cuts – Ask Your Representative to Support House Bill 2435
Recently, a bill was introduced that would end special interest tax breaks in order to preserve critical public services like education and health care by raising $370 million in the first year.
House Bill 2435 adopts many of the revenue proposals made in the Governor’s budget, but at different levels. It is meant to close corporate tax loopholes, enact a severance tax on natural gas production, assess an excise tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, and close a sales tax giveaway. The legislation also includes a reduction in the corporate tax rate and other business tax cuts long sought by the business community.
Please contact your Representative and urge him or her to support HB 2435.
Other Important Programs and Action Steps:
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:
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.
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.
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.