PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 17, 2010

State Budget

The House Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill containing the Governor’s proposed budget. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is planning to hold a vote on the state budget bill on Monday, March 22.

There have not been amendments to the bill thus far. Separate from the budget bill, however, is proposed legislation to end or limit drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which would reduce revenue available for the budget. The Governor proposed and the House Appropriations Committee included $180 million worth of leases in the budget proposal. Without that revenue, potential cuts could be made to funding for basic education, the Department of Public Welfare, and other crucial services. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center may be including a list of potential cuts on their website.

Philadelphia Budget

City Council is scheduled to hear testimony today on whether the proposed tax on sugary drinks, which is estimated to raise $77 million, will affect jobs in Philadelphia.

Teamsters and the beverage industry argue that the tax will cause the loss of at least 1,000 of an estimated 13,000 food-store jobs in Philadelphia. On the other side of the debate, the American Heart Association has found that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages between 1990 and 2000 contributed to 130,000 new cases of diabetes and 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease.

While the Mayor proposed the tax as part of his Healthy Philadelphia Initiative, the City Council will have the weigh the pros and cons of the tax before determining whether to include it in this year’s budget.

Did You Know...

That Philadelphia could have boosted its tax revenues by $18 million if just half the high school dropouts from the class of 2008 had actually graduated?

To help combat the city’s almost 45 percent dropout rate and assist young people who want to return to school earn their diplomas, the School District has established the Re-Engagement Center.

Action Alerts

State Budget Vote on March 22nd

State Representatives have introduced legislation tied to the Governor’s budget that would cut millions of dollars from critical education, health and human service programs. This legislation does not meet the needs of people struggling during this recession.

If you or your clients are affected by these cuts, please urge your State Representative to:
  • Reject any amendments that make cuts to education, health or human services from the Governor’s budget
  • Support a budget that funds education at the level proposed by the Governor and restores health and human service funding to FY 2009 levels
  • Increase revenue to secure our investments in education and communities, and protect vulnerable adults, children and families.

You can also set-up a meeting with your State Representative:
  • Try to get a meeting on March 18 or 19th (or another day soon when they are in the district offices.)
  • Let the Coalition know who you can meet with by clicking here. You can also sign up for the Southeastern PA Coalition for Essential Services email list by sending an email to

Did You Know...

That in the U.S. more than 30 million adults are in need of basic literacy skills?

Due to limited funding, less than 5 percent of the population in need is being served, and every state has waiting lists. If you or your clients would benefit from these programs, please contact your members of Congress today.

Help Support Federal Funding for Adult Basic Education and Literacy

It is time for Congress to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act and to increase funding for Title II of the Act. Title II supports vitally important adult literacy and basic education programs that help thousands of adults improve their literacy and workforce skills.

If you feel that adult basic education and literacy should be funded, please contact your federal representative and senators and ask them to support this effort.

For more information on please see ProLiteracy's and the National Coalition for Literacy's public policy positions.

CHIP Update

Pennsylvania legislation reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has passed the Senate and will now go to the Governor.

Nearly 200,000 children whose families do not have access to or cannot afford health insurance are covered under CHIP and this critical program will now be extended through 2013.
Please contact your House and Senate members and thank them for supporting this program.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Essential Services

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Essential Services is a broad-based coalition of over 80 nonprofits, local government and private sector agencies that provide essential services to improve the quality of life for people of this region. Pennsylvania’s budget impasse last year had a devastating impact on children, families, seniors, people with disabilities, other vulnerable members of our communities, and the organizations and agencies that serve them.
The Coalition has come together again this year to urge the Governor and the General Assembly to:
  • Spare cuts to the state’s most vulnerable residents in 2011 and pass a budget that provides adequate support for Pennsylvania’s children, families, seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations; and
  • Use additional sources of revenue to protect all Pennsylvanians and the organizations that serve our communities.
Three Things the Coalition is Asking Everyone to Do:
  1. Write to your House and Senate members. Tell them how the proposed cuts would impact the people your organization serves. Urge them to increase state revenue to fund the essential services your organization provides.
  2. Visit House and Senate members while they are home on recess.
  3. Urge members of your staff, board of directors and consumers to get involved.

Your organization can also join the Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Essential Services to stay informed and participate in collective budget action throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Go to for more information.

Important Programs and Action Steps:

Industry Partnerships: Workers who participate in the Industry Partnership program have seen an average 6.62% increase in their wages within the first year after training.
HB 2230, currently in the House Committee on Labor Relations, will institutionalize Industry Partnerships to ensure that this important program remains in Pennsylvania for years to come. If you or your clients have benefited from Industry Partnerships, please let your legislators know by emailing or calling their offices.

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.

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.

Child Care Subsidy: At least 16,000 families are on the waiting list to receive the 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.


Popular posts from this blog

Pennsylvania Plans to Reinstate Asset Limits on SNAP (Food Stamps)

Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania

Supporting PathWays PA throughout the year