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Showing posts from April, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - April 28, 2010

State Budget

Funding for Education

Last week the Governor spoke at a number of schools to talk abut the need for funding for education. The Governor’s proposal funds basic education at $355 million, an increase from last year’s budget.
The Governor has suggested five ways to possibly generate revenue for the increase:
Cut the sales tax from 6 percent to 4 percent, but lift tax exemptions on 74 items, including candy and gum, personal hygiene products, investment gold, dry cleaning and laundry services, caskets and burial vaults. Sales tax exemptions would be maintained for basic food items, clothing and prescription medications.Tax the extraction of Marcellus Shale.Tax cigars and smokeless tobacco.Raise corporate taxes.Take away the 1 percent discount businesses like Wal-Mart and Home Depot receive for paying their taxes on time. The General Assembly is hesitant to pass any broad based tax increases, so more proposals and/or cuts are likely.

One School District’s Struggle

The Quaker…

Media Advisory: Earned Sick Days as Next Step in Containing Healthcare Costs

PA Workers Head to DC To Call for Earned Sick Days as Next Step in Containing Healthcare Costs
White House Advisor Terrell McSweeny to Address Public Health & Family Advocates Who Are Urging Passage of Healthy Families Act
Secretary of Labor to Give Monday Remarks on Work & Family Policies
Washington, DC – On Tuesday, workers from Pennsylvania will join with small business owners and advocates from around the country to unveil findings showing the effect a national earned sick days standard would have for the 50 million workers in America who lack paid sick time.  Giving these 50 million workers – including 40% of the private workforce in the U.S.– the opportunity to earn sick days would help contain health care costs while preventing workers from “choosing” between their health and their job when illness strikes.

Terrell McSweeny, Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President and Deputy Assistant to the President, will address the group as they call for passage of the Healthy…

We're at a Conference for the Next Two Days...

But you can still get updates! We will be tweeting what we learn at this week's "Making it Work: Advancing Workplace Policies for Today's Families Conference" on one of our Twitter feeds, @EarnedSickTime.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter- April 26, 2010

Federal

Help Support the Healthy Families Act

On Tuesday, groups from around the country working toward earned sick time, including PathWays PA and the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, will be in DC to urge our legislators to support the Healthy Families Act.

Over 57 million workers nationwide have no access to earned sick time. Under the Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn up to seven paid sick days per year to recover from their own illness or care for a sick family member. It would also give victims of domestic violence the opportunity to use that time as "safe days" in which they can receive medical or psychological attention, look for housing, or otherwise address their needs.

Some reasons why the bill is important are listed below:
HFA Supports Families: parents can use time to take their children to the doctor, especially those newly covered by SCHIP HFA Supports Businesses: employers can increases productivity and morale in th…

Join the Health Care Conversation

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Still interested in talking about health care with others across the country? The New York Times website now includes a place for individuals to share their thoughts and reply to others' about health care.

Health Care Conversations cover such topics as employers and insurance, women and health care, abortion, medical malpractice and tort reform, and Medicare. Under each topic, there is a summary of that issue along with questions to which people can respond. Below is a sample of one of the topics:

The Final Reconciliation Bill

On Mar. 18 Democratic leaders unveiled a budget reconciliation bill, the final version of their plan to overhaul the health care system. The legislation would reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, at a cost of $940 billion.

The legislation is expected to reduce future federal deficits by $138 billion over that time period. But Republicans have said that government debt is piling up…

Do Your Part this Earth Day

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From our friends at MomsRising.

Today is Earth Day, a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the environment. This year Earth Day celebrates its 40th Anniversary.

Though out today people are asked to do their part for the environment, be it recycling, reducing their use of water, or walking instead of driving somewhere. In addition to those things you can do something from your computer that will not only be good for the environment but also for families.

Legislation has been introduced that will overhaul the nation’s chemical laws. The Safe Chemicals Act is landmark legislation that will reform the way the government protects families from toxic chemicals. Through the bill, there will be better information to businesses and individuals so they can avoid toxic chemicals in every day products.

Please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to support the Safe Chemicals Act.

Image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/ / CC BY 2.0

Conference Call TODAY: Using TANF Dollars to Improve Participation in Summer Nutrition

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(From our friends at The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC))

On April 22, FRAC, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), will host a conference call to discuss the new opportunity for states to leverage federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars to improve participation in summer nutrition programs.  This call will be held from 3-4 PM EST

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/ / CC BY 2.0

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - April 21, 2010

State Budget

Governor Calls for a Special Session

To address the added funding needed for road and bridge repairs, Governor Rendell will convene a special session of the Legislature starting May 4. The special session is necessary as federal officials rejected proposals to place tolls on I-80, which would have generated an estimated $472 million for road, bridges, and mass transit. Without that funding, there is a large hole in the state’s transportation budget.

The Governor is hopeful that the special session will only focus on the issue of transportation funding. Some potential proposals to raise the revenue include:
leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike to private companies, an increase in the state's 31-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, an increase in the car registration fee, enacting a tax on the natural gas in the Marcellus Share, enacting private-public partnerships on road or bridge projects, where a private firm would build and operate a road and likely charge a toll, and enac…

Equal Pay Could Equal Eight Months of Groceries

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Each year on a Tuesday in April, people across the country (including PathWays PA) celebrate Equal Pay Day, the day when women's earnings finally catch up with men's earnings from the previous year.  As we mark Equal Pay Day, it is important to know what the numbers mean, and what effect they have on all families.
If women earned equal wages to their male peers, they could use that money to buy groceries for a family of four for eight months. (The USDA estimates that a family of four spending "liberally" on groceries will spend $264.10 per week.  The wage gap per week is $162.)Women are the "breadwinner" or "co-breadwinner" in two-thirds of families in the United States, which shows the extent to which families are relying on wages earned by women.One year after graduating college, women earn on average only 80 percent of their male counterparts' wages.  During the next 10 years, women's wages fall even further behind, dropping to only 69 …

Support Foster Children and Families By Supporting the Foster Care Act

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Every year in Pennsylvania, more than 31,000 young people are served through the foster care system. For those young people, the time spent in foster care may be confusing and scary as they go from day to day without knowing who will care for them and where they will be living. Foster care is also confusing for the birth parents and caregivers involved, as they may not fully understand their rights and responsibilities. The combined uncertainty makes it even more difficult to support children and keep them safe.

Much of the uncertainly stems from the fact that children and their families must know and understand requirements that are scattered among various laws and regulations. When there are issues or questions, knowing where to find the information can be difficult. In Pennsylvania, the Children in Foster Care Act (HB 2338) has been introduced to take steps towards ensuring that children and their caregivers are fully informed. The bill will provide easy-to-understand informat…

Equal Pay Day

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On average, women who work in full-time, year-round jobs earn 77 cents to every $1 earned by a man in full-time, year-round jobs. Today, April 20, 2010, marks the point when women’s wages finally catch up to men’s wages from the previous year. The wage gap is even wider for women of color as the earnings for African American women are 67.9 percent of men's earnings and Latinas’ earnings were 58 percent of men's.
In Pennsylvania, women on average are slightly worse off than the national numbers, earning 76 percent of what men earn. The median earnings for a woman in Pennsylvania working full-time, year-round is $35,265, whereas the median wage for a man is $46,455.

The gap in wages has an even larger impact today, as women are now the breadwinner or co-breadwinner in two-thirds of all homes. During this recession, men have become unemployed in three of every four jobs lost, leaving many families relying solely on the income brought home by a woman. When women earn unequal…

The Effect of ARRA on Early Childhood Education in PA

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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funding for many important programs, including $2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.  As the National Women's Law Center reports in a recent paper, states have chosen to use this money in a variety of ways.  States have used the money to maintain current assistance, to keep up with caseload growth, and to delay, reduce, or eliminate child care subsidy waiting lists. Some states have also used the funding to provide child care to parents who are searching for a job, to reduce parent copays, and to maintain or increase child care reimbursement rates.  Technology and quality improvement ratings are also recipients of funding across the country.

Why is child care funding so important? Quality early education gives children a better opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed in school and later in life, bringing economic benefits to their families and the community.  Access to a child care subsidy helps the ec…

One in Eight Americans are Receiving SNAP

Earlier this month the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) published a report that shows the growing participation rates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.

Participation in SNAP has grown to record levels with 39.4 million Americans receiving the benefit. This number does not account for the estimated one in three people who are eligible but not receiving SNAP. In Pennsylvania, over 12 percent of the population received SNAP in January 2010. Over the last year, the number of Pennsylvania participants increased by 254,699 people.

Some of the increases are due to the changes made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Under ARRA, SNAP benefits were increased by 19 percent, eligibility rules were eased for unemployed adults without children, and additional funding was provided to states for program administration. However, the increase is also due simple to the increased need of families during this reces…

April 19 is the Last Day to Register to Vote in PA's Primaries!

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Attention unregistered voters! Today is your last chance to sign up to vote in the upcoming Pennsylvania Primary (May 18th). This year’s General Primary election includes races between candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Congress, PA Senate, PA House of Representatives,State Party Committee Members, and Ward Executives!

Stop by your local library, post office, or representative’s office to pick up a registration form. You can also download the form. Make sure you postmark your registration form no later than TODAY. You can also drop your form off at your County Elections Office.

If you are already registered and need to submit an absentee ballot, make sure you submit your absentee application by May 11!

Voting is your civil right! Stand up and be heard!

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/bensutherland/ / CC BY 2.0

TEFAP Grant Applications Due May 17

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(From our friends at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service)

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plans to award up to $6 million to emergency feeding organizations, such as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens, participating in the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). At least $3 million is expected to be awarded for projects that improve the emergency feeding infrastructure in rural communities. Projects that benefit or serve Native American communities will receive priority consideration.

Among other activities, grantees can use funds to improve the tracking, collection, storage, distribution and transport of time-sensitive and perishable foods; develop or maintain computerized systems for tracking foods; improving the provision of recovered foods to food banks; and repairing and expanding facilities, equipment or appliances to support hunger relief. Funds can also be used to identify new donors and emergency food providers or to provide outreach to persons in ne…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: April 19, 2010

Federal

Help Keep Young Offenders Out of the Adult Criminal System

Every year an estimated 200,000 youth are tried, sentenced or incarcerated as adults in the United States, mostly for non-violent offenses. Young people who are tried in the adult system are more likely to reoffend than youth retained in the juvenile system, and when they are sentenced as adults, they are exposed to collateral consequences that affect their ability to further their education and employment.

The Campaign for Youth Justice is asking groups to show support for reducing the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system by signing the National Resolution on Trying and Sentencing Youth as Adults.

Prosecuting youth to the adult system is a pathway to recidivism, abuse, and long-term negative consequences to their educational and employment options. It is a dangerous and costly practice.

Please sign onto the National Resolution today and show your support for kee…

Great Art, Great Cause: PathWays PA's Art Show and Auction

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Event Chair Maxine Maddox Dornemann


Over 100 original pieces of art will be showcased at the spring show. Featured artists are Howard Watson and Dane Tilghman along with participating artists including: Richard Bollinger, Terry DeAngelo, Cheryl Decker-Sauder, Cheryl Decker-Sauder, Christa Krumbhaar, Martin May, Cathy Peluso, Marie Harris, Nicola Soricelli and over a dozen other local artists.


Each artist will donate either an original piece of artwork or a signed limited edition print for our silent auction from which 100% of the proceeds will benefit PathWays PA. In addition, there will be over 100 pieces of art for sale, from which 30% of the profit made will go towards helping over 6,000 vulnerable women, children and families served by PathWays PA.


Buy Tickets Now
$25 in advance, $30 at the door
For show and ticket information, call 610-543-5022 x234 or email: pprzbylski@pathwayspa.org.
Tickets may also be purchased online at http://pathwayspa.ticketleap.com.

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - April 14, 2010

State Budget

New Choices to be Made in PA After Federal Funding Denied

Last week, Pennsylvania was denied federal approval to place tolls on I-80, which means the loss of hundreds of millions in funds anticipated for transportation. The budget proposed by the Governor and passed by the House assumed there would be an estimated $472 million from the tolls. Legislators will now have to work to try to fill this hole in the budget.

A few weeks ago, the House approved a $29 billion state budget and sent the legislation to the Senate without revenue provision, which created a gap of between $750 million and $1 billion. That gap does not include the revenue needed for transportation improvements that were to be underwritten by I-80 tolls.

With deteriorating roads and struggling mass-transit systems, funding for the Transportation Department is crucial for Pennsylvania. There have been a number of ideas on how to raise the revenue elsewhere:
New or used motor-vehicle fees Oil-profit taxe…

The Effects of Unemployment Benefits

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Starting last week, workers who have been struggling to find jobs face the added burden of watching their benefits run out. Due to an impasse, Senators failed to extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which expired on April 5, though they are in negotiations for a possible extension until May 5.

Within the next two weeks, more than 212,000 jobless Americans that rely on unemployment insurance will lose their $300 - $400 weekly checks, likely causing many to run out of the funds needed to cover basic resources such as food, rent, utilities, car payments, and education costs.

Figures show that 6.5 million individuals, (44.1 percent of total US unemployment) have been without employment for more than six months and therefore, qualify for federal benefits. According to economists, money paid in benefits to jobless Americans provides one of the most effective means of economic stimulus. This is because individuals strapped for income will spend the money they receive at local businesses…

Do You Need A Census Form?

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(From our friends at the Census Bureau)

If you haven't received your Census form in the mail, you can call today and give your answers over the phone or request a form be sent to where you live. Please make the call to ensure you can mail it back in time to avoid a census taker coming to your door. Don't be left out of the count for your community.  When you fill out and mail back your census form, you’re making a statement about what resources your community needs going forward.

Accurate data reflecting changes in the community are crucial in apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and deciding how more than $400 billion per year is allocated for projects like new hospitals and schools. That's more than $4 trillion over a 10-year period for things like new roads and schools, and services like job training centers.

If you haven't received your Census form, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA) today:

ENGLISH - 1-866-872-6868
Chinese:…

VITA National Call-In Week

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(From our friends at NCTC)

The proposed federal  FY 2011 budget would cut funding for the VITA Grant Program, even as the need for VITA services continues to grow.

NCTC is working to expand the size of the VITA Grant Program for FY 2011 and also to pass separate legislation that will make the VITA Grant Program a permanent part of the federal budget. They have a goal of making 1000 calls to Congress this week, but to do so, they need your help. 

To reach this goal, NCTC has an online action tool to call Senators and Representatives that allows them to better track our national impact.  If you think the VITA program is important, please take part in this national campaign!

The Ask:
Increase funding for the VITA Grant Program to $35 million for Fiscal Year 2011Support soon-to-be-introduced legislation in the House and Senate that will authorize this vital program and provide more stability to community-based taxpayer services. NCTC will alert you when authorizing language is introduced…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: April 12, 2010

Federal

Urge Congress to Extend Unemployment Benefits

The Senate failed to extend unemployment benefits before they left for recess. As of Friday, the vote was rescheduled for today April 12.

According to the National Employment Law Project, there are now 14.9 million unemployed Americans. Unemployment insurance is a lifeline for millions of families most in need--and also moves forward economic recovery for us all. Without unemployment insurance, more homes will be lost to foreclosure, bringing down the value of all homes, less money will flow through communities, and families in need will have to find other public supports. This downward cycle hampers the overall economic recovery that will bring jobs and economic security to all of us.

Please urge your members of Congress to act now to make sure that millions of our most vulnerable families have access to unemployment insurance benefits that will keep them in their homes and able to continue looking for work and caring for their…