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PathWays PA E-Newsletter: July 18, 2011

FEDERAL POLICY UPDATES

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ABOUT DANGEROUS FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS

Your call is still needed - please fight dangerous cuts by calling today to support low-income families!

Call your senators toll-free at 888-907-1485, and tell them that middle-class and struggling families must not bear the brunt of the budget cuts. Ask for a budget plan that reduces the deficit responsibly and works for all Americans - not just millionaires and big business. Urge your senators to oppose harmful cuts or caps to programs serving our nation's most vulnerable communities.

Here is a script you can use: "Hello, my name is ____________ and I am a constituent of Senator ______________. I am calling today to ask the Senator to prevent harmful cuts or caps to low/moderate-income programs in the negotiations to reduce the deficit. Please insist on fair increases in revenues and reductions in wasteful military spending to prevent reckless cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, and other essential services."

Though reducing the long-term deficit is an important step toward stabilizing and growing our nation's economy, it is critical that it is done responsibly. Americans deserve a plan that gradually reduces the deficit without reckless cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other vital programs serving millions of families, children, seniors, and struggling communities.

Join the effort by calling today to make sure your voice is heard. Call your senators toll-free at 888-907-1485.

From the Coalition on Human Needs

UPDATES ON SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS

Last week, the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) delivered a letter to the leaders of Congress demanding a budget deal that does not include cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) joined several prominent leaders from NCWO on a press call to announce the launch of a nationwide campaign and public petition to express concern about cuts proposed to programs that women and families rely on.

The "Respect, Protect, Reject" campaign aims to highlight the vital importance of reaching a budget deal that will respect women's contributions to the economy and their need for economic security.

The budget cuts currently being proposed would be most harmful to those most vulnerable, including women and their families, low earners, and seniors. The average monthly Social Security check for women is about $1,000, and many retired women do not have any other source of income and exhaust their savings in later years.

If you would like to sign the "Respect, Protect, Reject" petition, you can do so here . Want to take the campaign a step further? You can also tweet and retweet the campaigns tweet of the day, listed here.


"SAVE PELL" SOCIAL MEDIA ACTION DAY

Funding for Pell is under attack and Ed Trust - with a broad coalition of partners - is working to defend the students who depend on it as a critical support while earning their way into the middle class. This coalition has designated July 25 as Save Pell Day - a national day of online action to protect Pell.

On July 25, we're asking everyone who cares about the future of working class and low-income students to use their homepages, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and all other online crowd-building tools to oppose any cuts to Pell - very, very loudly.

Congress begins marking-up the budget the next day, so we need to be TOO LOUD TO BE IGNORED!

To make this event a success, we need your help getting the word out. Here's what you can do:

  • Tweet using the #SavePell hashtag. Every week we'll send you a list of sample tweets that you can send to your followers. (You can also retweet what @EdTrust and others in the coalition are saying.) We've checked the data; all you have to do is copy, paste, and tweet. 
  • Ask your Facebook fans to "like" the official Save Pell campaign page, and RSVP for Save Pell Day. Post it on your Facebook wall to help boost the event's exposure.
  • Check out our Tumblr and contribute content. We're creating a Save Pell Tumblr blog where you can follow the latest news, read stories from Pell recipients, and learn helpful facts that you can include in your own communications effort. 
  • Stay tuned for the link, but if you have personal stories, interesting articles or anything else you think this audience would find interesting, pass it along to savepell@edtrust.org.
And most importantly,E-mail your friends and other contacts on Save Pell Day! That's when we'll unveil our online action center where users will find: sample tweets, a downloadable Facebook profile image, and sample e-mail messages to send to Congressional members. On the days leading up to Save Pell Day, we'll also provide pre-event messages that you can send to your contacts.

Nearly 10 million students count on Pell to afford higher education. Cuts to this program would be devastating to them, but they'd also be devastating to our economy - which needs more college-educated workers, not less. We're counting on you to join us as we stand up for students and fight to save Pell.

From The Education Trust

STATE POLICY UPDATES

NEW PROPOSED FRACKING LAWS BEFORE THE STATE

Debate over the proposed shale drilling for natural gas (also known as fracking) has continued in Harrisburg. Recently, Governor Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Commission adopted 96 recommendations after four months of work. However, aside from backing some fees added to the extraction of natural gas (of which Pennsylvania is the only state not to levy a tax), no details of the recommendation have been released to the public - and won't be until they're presented to the governor.

However, the idea of the fee is one that is leaving an expectation in the legislature of a policy clash -the so called "impact fee" will face scrutiny over how to appropriate the funds, and whether to keep them local to impacted communities or distributed statewide.


TRANSPORTATION PANEL TO VOTE ON CLOSING REVENUE GAP

Facing a $2.5 billion shortfall in transportation funding, the Transportation Funding Advisory Committee is laying out many options to present to Gov. Corbett.

According to the Times-Tribune: the commission will recommend lifting the cap on the state Oil Company Franchise Tax, placing a levy on the wholesale price of gasoline, and increasing license and registration fees. Other possibilities include dedicating the sales tax revenue from motor vehicle purchases to transportation uses, including a portion for mass transit. The panel may also recommend to consolidate drivers license centers, privatize the drivers' skill test, and lengthen the time period for registration and license renewal. The paper reports that "The commission has already taken some options - any new effort to toll Interstate 80, basing a motorist tax on vehicle miles traveled rather than the price of gasoline at the pump and converting the state gasoline tax to a sales tax - off the table."

Voting on the act will take place today. From there, the recommendations will be sent to the Governor, who will base his recommendations to the legislature on the report. The legislature will take up whatever recommendations happen when the new session begins in September.


INFORMATION/EVENTS

SIGN THE DECLARATION OF SUPPORT FOR PAID SICK DAYS AND INDEPENDENCE FROM THE MAYOR'S VETO

While the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces was thrilled with City Council's passage of the earned sick days bill we were disappointed with the Mayor's veto of our bill. On July 6th members of the Coalition came together to declare support for the earned sick days bill and independence from the Mayors veto. Members signed their own Declaration on Independence Mall and you can add your name to the growing list of supporters. We will be presenting the list of supports to the Mayor and City Council as we work to override the veto.

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