FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE
Action Alert: U.S. Senate Banking Committee to Meet with HUD Secretary
The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking is meeting this Thursday to discuss the FY 2012 budget with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Now is the time to remind senators who sit on this committee of the importance of HUD housing programs such as CDBG, HOME, and housing counseling.
Please call or email the senators' Washington offices today to share the local impact of cuts to these crucial programs and why these tools can be so successful in helping your community!
Click here for a list of the senators who sit on the Committee on Banking.
Deadline for responding: Please take action by Thursday, May 5th.
STATE BUDGET UPDATE
Rally for a Responsible Budget Recap
More than 3,000 people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday to speak out against cuts in FY2012 state budget proposals and to support closing corporate tax breaks within the state.
Many labor unions and organizations from across the state were represented in huge numbers, with their members calling for legislative action to tax Marcellus Shale drilling and to close the "Delaware Loophole" and other tax loopholes which are said to cost the state an estimated $1.8 billion in lost revenue. Among the loopholes are $42 million for cigar and smokeless tobacco tax exemption, and a $62 million online sales tax exemption.
Check out the links below for media coverage of the event, and please continue to call and email legislators- as revenue numbers improve there is more momentum to stop the cuts.
Pennsylvania State Capitol will be busy today with rallies, news conferences and Holocaust remembrance (Patriot News)
Thousands Converge on Capitol for "Responsible Budget" Rally (Public News Service)
(Raging Chicken Press)
Hundreds swarm Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry calling for businesses to pay 'fair share' in taxes (Patriot News)
Ask Your State Legislator to Enact a Gas Drilling Tax
Governor Corbett's budget proposal cuts nearly $2 billion for schools, full-day kindergarten, colleges, and health and human services, while the natural gas industry pays very little in taxes. Pennsylvania should enact a gas drilling tax at the state level to avoid these deep cuts and higher local taxes for working families.
85% of the oil and gas companies that filed corporate tax returns in 2008 paid no state taxes, while many other drillers are structured in a way to lower their state tax bills considerably. Drillers also enjoy a generous array of federal tax breaks and pay little in local taxes.
Some lawmakers favor a local drilling impact fee, but the impacts of drilling don't stop at local boundaries. A state drilling tax will support education, health care and children's services, as well as the local and environmental impacts of drilling.
Tell your lawmakers the time has come to end the special interest tax breaks for the gas industry:
This information provided by Better Choices for Pennsylvania.
PROGRAMS THAT NEED YOUR SUPPORT
On May 2, 2011, the Pennsylvania Senate's Appropriations Committee passed the Industry Partnership legislation (SB 552) by a unanimous vote. The bill will be placed back on the (voting) Calendar for consideration by the full Senate. The bill can now be passed by the full Senate if the Majority Leader brings it up for a vote.
The e-mails and letters sent to Senate Appropriations Committee members asking for support were helpful in getting that unanimous vote. Now we need to turn our attention to all Senators. To help get SB 552 approved by the full Senate as quickly as possible, please continue your support efforts. Visit WorkforcePA.com to learn more about what you can do.
Thanks to our friends at the Pennsylvania Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Adult Literacy and Family Literacy
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 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 by $2,474,000.
Please contact your state legislator today and let then know how important these programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.
Also, at the federal level, please take this opportunity to send an email to Senators Casey and Toomey to tell them adult literacy is critical to the economic development of this country and to their constituents by providing learners with the skills they need to obtain a good job or enter job training or post-secondary education.
The Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education (PAACE) also encourages you to contact your legislator to restore Even Start Family Literacy funding. Continued funding for that program is not contained in the current continuing resolution.
The state budget proposed by Governor Corbett takes aim at education, slashing one billion dollars from public education funding and cutting aid to Pennsylvania colleges and universities by 50%. Meanwhile, prison budgets are being increased and Pennsylvania is still the only state that doesn't tax natural gas drilling or smokeless tobacco.