PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - May 26, 2010

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011 Release

Over the years of debating the state budget, Pennsylvania has seen many important programs on the chopping block. Some of these programs assist with adult literacy and education, job training, child care, health care, or other work supports. It is important to know just how expensive it is for working families to make ends meet and how much work supports and education can mean to a family when the budget is being debated.

In light of this need for data, PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011, which shows the cost of making ends meet in every county in Pennsylvania.

With this report, we can now see just how much Pennsylvania families need to earn and why so many working adults and families are struggling.

Please join us to learn more about this important publication:

WHEN: Wednesday, June 2nd 2:00 - 4:00
WHERE: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

To register please visit:

State Budget

Today, the House of Representative was expected to vote on a revenue package approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Monday. This vote has been pushed back until June 7.

House Bill 325 includes a natural gas extraction tax at 8 percent, raises the cigarette tax by 30 cents, and imposes a levy on other tobacco products. The bill, which does not include a tax on cigars, is projected to raise $330 million and is expected to close the revenue gap if combined with spending cuts and increased efficiency.

Philadelphia Budget

Last Thursday, City Council approved the $3.9 billion budget agreed to at the committee level last week. In approving the budget, the City Council did not include the Mayor’s proposed tax on sugary drinks.. The increased revenue in this budget includes a two-year 9.9 percent property tax increase, which is expected to generate $88 million in revenue on a yearly basis. The plan also increases the trash removal fee for commercial properties and imposes a tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars.

In response to the approved budget, the Mayor announced $20 million in budget cuts to provide additional revenues for unplanned expenses. Under his proposal, the city will:
  • Eliminate two new police classes in 2010-2011
  • Close two fire companies (40 positions)
  • Reduce branch library schedules to four days a week
  • Cut the Managing Director's Office’s budget by $1.7 million, which will affect youth violence prevention, Town Watch integrated services, and the CLIP program.
  • Reduce the Division of Technology’s budget by $1.2 million.
  • Decrease the Office of Supportive Housing’s budget by $500,000.
  • Cut the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s budget by $240,000.

Action Alert

Urge Your Members of Congress to Help Plug an $800 Million Hole in the PA Budget

Before Pennsylvania lawmakers can consider a budget, they need to know what degree of federal assistance they will have. As of today, Congress has yet to pass legislation that includes a temporary extension of the federal enhanced Medicaid match rate (FMAP). If Congress does not act, there will be an additional $800 million hole in the state’s already large deficit.

The House would need to vote for H.R. 4213 American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, a bill that provides a 6-month extension of FMAP. The H.R. 4213 also includes crucial extension of the provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) related to unemployment, COBRA, a temporary extension of the Emergency Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund, as well as other provisions.

Please call or email your members of Congress today and urge him or her to pass an FMAP extension to ensure that Pennsylvania will not have to make even deeper cuts.

Other Important Programs and Action Steps:

While the state budget is very tight this year, it is crucial for legislators to hear from their constituents about programs that cannot and should not see more cuts this year. Even programs that are not undergoing large cuts need to be advocated for to ensure that changes are not made to their funding during the budget debates. Below we have highlighted just a few of those programs:

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.

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.

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.


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