Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert: May 18, 2011

PA’S HB 916 TO CUT UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, AND YOU CAN HELP
A bill under consideration in the House, HB 916, would cut at least $632 million in benefits from unemployment compensation (UC) claimants by doing the following:


  • Reducing benefits for claimants and the number of weeks some claimants will get UC
  • Changing the definition of willful misconduct to include unintentional mistakes
  • Denying UC to those who have lost their jobs for family or medical reasons, including those fleeing from domestic violence and caring for an elderly parent or sick family member
  • Creating a 100% offset of severance payments, even when those payments are required by law or contract.

However, despite these changes, HB 916 includes no revenue increases to tackle critical insolvency issues in the unemployment compensation system. Furthermore, because of some of the changes listed above, Pennsylvania would become ineligible for 2/3rds of Unemployment Compensation Stimulus money that is currently available.

Please take a moment to talk to your representatives about the need for unemployment compensation that helps all families who lose their jobs.

Not sure what to say? Use this script when speaking with your representative:
”HB 916 would cut UC benefits for a large number of Pennsylvania's unemployed. It is not fair to solve the financial problems of the UC system on the backs of the unemployed, without looking at other sources of funding from employers and the federal government.”

You could also say: "UC benefits have made a big difference for me while I have been unemployed [explain your situation]. These cuts will hurt the unemployed severely and do not
ask employers to share the burden."

FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE

PROTECT OUR CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE
Last week the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee approved The State Flexibility Act, H.R. 1683, which could significantly increase the number of children without health insurance by repealing federal law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment standards and procedures in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Today, there are nearly 139,000 children without health insurance in Pennsylvania. The latest action by Congress would reduce eligibility standards and procedures, placing more of our children at risk.
Act TODAY! Urge your Congressperson to PROTECT our children’s healthcare and OPPOSE The State Flexibility Act.
Click here to urge your Congress person to OPPOSE the State Flexibility Act.

STATE BUDGET UPDATE

Last week, House Republicans released the details of their proposed State Budget for FY 2011 – 2012. This budget remains at the same overall spend number as Governor Corbett’s budget, around $27.3 billion. This budget restores portions of funding to K-12 and higher education cut from the Corbett budget, with state system universities seeing an 85 percent restoration and state-related institutions receiving anywhere from a 51-75 percent restoration.

However, this budget also includes further cuts to programs in need of funding. Domestic Violence Services, rape crisis, disabilities, and housing services all saw cuts. The Industry Partnership Program was zeroed out in this budget. As the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center points out, while $20 million of the $23 million cut to the Human Services Development Fund has been put back in the budget, this comes at the same time that County Child Welfare is cut by $22 million.
To see a chart with some selected line items from the budget, please view our blog. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center also has further analysis and charts.

ACTION ALERTS

ASK YOUR CONGRESSPERSON TO SIGN REPRESENTATIVE BRADY’S CDBG “DEAR COLLEAGUE” LETTER BY COB 5/17
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) has a proven track record of helping local communities through a wide range of housing investments, public infrastructure improvements, public services and local economic development projects where the private market is absent. CDBG has a proven track record and enjoys a broad base of support--yet CDBG is on the chopping block. Urge your Representative to sign on to Rep. Robert Brady’s “Dear Colleague” letter by close of business Tuesday, May 17.


URGE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO SUPPORT BETTER CHOICES FOR THE STATE BUDGET—CALL IN DAY MAY 19
Pennsylvania House Republican leaders unveiled a state budget plan last week that represents a shift in the cuts rather than a restoration of funding for critical services. It restores only $243 million of a $1.2 billion cut to public schools proposed by Governor Corbett. Colleges get a boost above the Governor's budget but still face $269 million in cuts to current year funding, and further cuts health and human services for women, children and vulnerable Pennsylvanians. Calls are needed to urge better choices for PA on May 19.
This information provided by our friends at the Pennsylvania Council of Churches Ministry of Public Witness.
This information provided by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children

SAVE ADULTBASIC
Click here NOW to sign the petition to save tobacco settlement money and bring back adultBasic.

We are in the final weeks of the budget fight. Call your State Rep and Senator tell them to bring back adultBasic! Click here to look up their number. Then, send PHAN an email or post on their facebook page to let them know how your call went.

Events near you:
Thursday, May 19th at 10:00 AM, Philadelphia (most likely) the Auditor General, Jack Wagner, will bring his traveling hearings around this issue to Philadelphia. Don't miss it! State building, 801 Market Street. PHAN is waiting for final details. If you're interested email Athena at aford@pahealthaccess.org and she will keep you updated. Show up for the hearing to help demonstrate support! (If you were on adultBasic and want to share your story, please let Athena know!)

Tuesday, May 24th - all day, Harrisburg. Lobby day and press conference in Harrisburg. Everyone is welcome to participate! Whether you are an old pro or have never done anything like this before, please join PHAN as they demonstrate the urgency of the issue to our General Assembly. For more information - including car pool options - email Athena at aford@pahealthaccess.org.
This information on adultBasic provided by the PA Health Access Network


OPPOSE BILL TO CUT FUNDING FOR HUMAN SERVICES DEVELOPMENT FUND
If you are concerned about issues related to evidence-based home visiting/prevention programs, family centers, child welfare, the Human Services Development Fund, rape crisis and domestic violence, among others, please take a moment to review this letter from the Protect Our Children Committee.

While the House Republican Budget restores some funding for education and human services. Such restorations, however, forced significant reductions to other programs essential to strengthening families, keeping children safe from child abuse and other forms of violence and foundational to a child’s permanency.

To read the letter and sign on, please click here.


INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS
On March 8, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his 2011-2012 General Fund Budget. Despite difficult budget constraints, the Governor showed his support for the Industry Partnership program by allocating $ 1.613 million to fund the building of Industry Partnerships. The Governor’s budget, however, zeroed out the Industry Partnership training line item, which had been $5.95 million dollars in last year’s budget. Since that point, the House Republican Budget has now zeroed out the entire program,
The PA Fund for Workforce Solutions is working with other advocates, including PathWays PA, over the next several months to persuade legislators and the new administration to restore funding for Industry Partnership training.

Information on the Governor's Budget can be viewed on the PFWS website at www.workforcepa.com or at the state website at www.state.pa.us.


ADULT EDUCATION AND FAMILY LITERACY
Adult education and family literacy program are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient.

Despite the importance of adult education programs they continue to be cut in the budget year after year – this year being cut by $2,474,000.

Please contact your state legislator today and let then know how important these programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.

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