Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 31, 2010

State Budget

Last week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a budget bill that reflects the Governor's budget proposal. The bill passed the House by a vote of 107-89. The bill now goes on to the Senate, which is expected to reconvene on April 12.

The House bill did not include any action on new revenue proposals, including the Stimulus Transition Fund, that were included in the Governor’s budget. If no new revenue is raised this year, the state will have a deficit of $2.4 billion in 2011-12 and $12.8 billion by 2014-15. The House is expected to work on the revenue proposals in other legislation.

What is the Stimulus Transition Fund?

The purpose of the fund is to cover the budget hole that will exist after the federal stimulus funds expire in June 2011. In the coming fiscal year, the state is expecting to receive $2.7 billion in federal stimulus dollars. This money will fund health care, corrections, and education. In the following fiscal year (FY2011-2012), the state is not expected to have access to the same funding. The Stimulus Transition fund would replace the decreased federal funding for these programs.

The fund will be paid for through a number of new revenue measures. These include:
  • Modernizing the sales tax by eliminating exemptions and reducing the overall tax rate.
  • Eliminating the sales tax vendor discount for firms filing timely returns.
  • Closing corporate tax loopholes by enacting Combined Reporting.
  • Enacting an excise tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars.
  • Levying a severance tax on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale that underlies much of the Commonwealth.
Please see the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s summary of the Fund for more detail about the new revenue measures.


Philadelphia Budget 

While City Council is working on the city budget, another issue they will have to face is expiring union contracts. An estimated 60 percent of the city’s $3.9 billion general fund budget is spent on salaries, benefits and overtime for city workers, most of who are in unions.

Three union contracts still need to be finalized before the May 31st budget deadline, although the city did reach new contract terms with the police union through binding arbitration. The arbitrator’s ruling provides raises, maintains current health benefits, and loosens residency requirements.

To learn more about the city budget join Catherine Lucy of the Philadelphia Daily News for an online chat at noon today.

A Special Census Did You Know...

That the information the census collects helps to determine how to spend more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year on infrastructure and services?

Please fill out your Census form today.


April 1 – National Census Day 

Have you filled out your Census form yet? National Census Day is tomorrow, April 1, 2010. Please take a few minutes to fill out the Census form and send it back by this date.

It is important to be counted in the U.S. Census as it helps determine federal funding for critical services in Pennsylvania. This is a simple way you can help drive much needed federal funding to the women and families of Pennsylvania. If you need help with your form, you can call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center (they can take calls in 6 languages + TDD calls) or visit a Questionnaire Assistance Center or Be Counted site.


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.

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.

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.

PathWays PA Job Postings - March 31, 2010


Financial Educator
Innovative program that promotes economic well-being in low-income families seeks a BS/BA level Financial Educator. You must be comfortable with people, computers and TANF system and have the ability to discuss basic financial planning and budgeting. Must be able to work some evenings and Saturday mornings. Independent transportation required; bilingual a plus. 4 year degree required - no exceptions - prefer BSW, background in education, or related field. Counseling experience also preferred. This position will split time between Delaware County and Philadelphia. Fax resumes to LD/LK 610-328-2807. EOE

Trauma-informed Therapists
PathWays PA is seeking quality therapists to provide trauma-informed therapeutic services to women, teen mothers and teen girls in their homes. Must be trained-in trauma-informed services and be familiar with the S.E.L.F. model; must also be comfortable addressing sexual abuse and domestic violence issues. Flexible hours required. LSW and credentialed/eligible to be credentialed to provide services to CBH members required. Philadelphia and some DELCO area. Full time and Part time position available. Fax resumes to: BD/LD 610-328-2807 EOE

Full and Part-Time Residential Worker
Need caring and motivated individual to provide support and supervision for Delco group home serving women and children; HS/GED, Associates Degree and experience preferred; driver’s license required. Includes nights and weekends. Fax resumes to: ES/LD/CFF 610-328-2807. EOE

PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LIHEAP Extended for Two More Weeks Until April 16

Pennsylvania has announced a two-week extension of LIHEAP (the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program), which will mean that the program will end on April 16 instead of April 2. Through LIHEAP, families can receive cash grants to pay for home heating fuel and crisis grants for heating emergencies.

According to the Commonwealth, LIHEAP has helped 382,046 families through cash grants and 111,178 households with crisis grants.  By comparison, in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, LIHEAP served 547,302 applicants with cash grants and 202,533 with crisis grants. Income eligibility for the program changed between the 2008-2009 season and the 2009-2010 season.  In 2008, families earning below 210 percent of the Federal Poverty Level- or about $44,520 for a family of four- could access the program. This year, only families earning below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($33,075 for a family of four) can access it.

If you are in need of heating assistance, you can find applications at county assistance offices, local utility companies and community service agencies.  There is also a LIHEAP hotline (1-866-857-7095; TDD 1-800-451-5886) open Monday through Friday.  Applications can also be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us.  To see if you qualify, visit the Department of Public Welfare's LIHEAP site. Individuals living in Philadelphia interested in being prescreened for LIHEAP and other programs may call PathWays PA at 215-387-1470, and those in Delaware County can call PathWays PA at 610-543-5022.

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/arielarielariel/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Invitation to 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Pennsylvania's Workforce and Economy

We are writing to invite you to the 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Pennsylvania's Workforce and Economy. Occurring less than a month before the Commonwealth's primary elections, this forum will offer an informative and interactive look at the candidates' plans for stimulating job creation and moving Pennsylvanians back to work. The forum will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 19th at the National Constitution Center. PathWays PA is proud to be a supporting co-sponsor of this forum.

We hope that you will be able to participate in this important community event. The way in which we address job creation and workforce development in the next four years will impact the Commonwealth's future for decades to come. For more information, please see our formal invitation below. If you plan to attend, please save the date and RSVP at www.pagovforum.org. In addition, please feel free to share this announcement with colleagues that you think may be interested. The forum is free, but space is limited.

Health Care Reform in Pennsylvania

While health care reform is helping millions of Americans across the country, below is a look at how Pennsylvanians with and without insurance will see real benefits as a result of the legislation:
  • 8.1 million residents who have health care coverage through an employer or purchase it themselves will be better protected against insurance company abuses.
  • 3 million families will have access to tax credits and other assistance to help reduce the cost of their health care premiums.
  • 2.2 million senior citizens will have improved Medicare and pay less in prescription drug costs.
  • 262,800 small businesses will be eligible for tax credits to help pay the cost of health care for their employees.
  • 143,600 residents with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.
Thanks to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network the above information is available for each of Pennsylvania’s 19 Congressional Districts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Support the Industry Partnership Program in the Senate!

As many of you know, the Department of Labor and Industry’s Industry Partnerships legislation (HB 2230) unanimously passed the House of Representatives last week. It will now be referred to the Senate’s Labor and Industry Committee when they return on April 12.

The Industry Partnership bill amends the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Act to make Industry Partnerships a permanent part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system. It will require the Department of Labor and Industry to continue defining targeted industries and High Priority Occupations, and to administer a grant program when funds are made available.

What can you do to help pass this important legislation? Call your legislators today to ask them to vote for the Industry Partnerships bill! If you don’t know who represents you or the district in which your business is located, visit http://www.legis.state.pa.us/. A script is below if you would like to use it:

If your legislator is on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, please call and ask him or her to vote for the bill when it comes up in committee.

Script: Hello, my name is ______, and I am (your job title and business/organization- e.g. Human Resources Manager at Important Corp./Administrator at Terrific Nonprofit). I live/work in the Senator’s district, and I am calling to ask Senator (name) to vote for the Industry Partnerships bill in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee. (If you are a member of an IP, please let the legislative staffer know.)  You can also add: The Industry Partnerships program is important because....

If your legislator is not on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, you can call and ask him or her to vote for it when it comes up before the Senate.

Script: Hello, my name is ______, and I am (your job title and business/organization- e.g. Human Resources Manager at Important Corp./Administrator at Terrific Nonprofit). I live/work in the Senator’s district, and I am calling to ask Senator (name) to vote for the Industry Partnerships bill when it comes before the Senate. (If you are a member of an IP, please let the legislative staffer know.You can also add: The Industry Partnerships program is important because....

Please let us know if and when you call by emailing us at policy@pathwayspa.org. Please also feel free to email or call with any questions. Thank you so much for your time and support of the Industry Partnerships program!

Below are some interesting facts on Industry Partnerships –feel free to share them with your legislators:
  • To receive grant funds, Industry Partnerships must:
    • Provide a 25% cash match,
    • Collaborate with evaluation efforts that help increase the return on investment of partnership activities,
    • Include the participation of workers, and
    • Involve the local workforce investment board.
  • Since 2005-06, Pennsylvania has been investing more than any other state in building and delivering training through Industry Partnerships. The state now has over 70 Industry Partnerships that include 7,000 businesses and have trained over 70,000 workers.
Image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nursingpins/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: March 29, 2010

PathWays PA Invites You to a Resource Fair and Publications Release

Please join PathWays PA and other local nonprofit organizations at a resource fair for the release of our newest publication, Making Wages Work, which looks at the gaps between public benefits and wage adequacy. We will also be launching Keeping It Real: Teen Finances, a handbook for teens to help then manage their money.

The event will include an overview of our new report, handbook, and the release of the Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET). The OTBET is an online tool that allows staff and clients to determine the personal Self-Sufficiency Standard and benefits eligibility for their own families.

Following the presentations, local nonprofits will have resources available to share regarding their services and publications.

WHEN: April 12, 2010, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
WHERE: The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

To sign up, call PathWays PA at 610-543-5022 x209, or sign up at http://pathwaysparesource.eventbrite.com/. If you would like to have a resource table for your organization, please let us know!

Federal

Help Increase Funding for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program sponsored by the IRS to help low- and middle-income people file their income tax returns. Through the program, community partners engage and train volunteers and set up sites where clients can come to have their basic returns completed. VITA was created especially to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable credit that means big returns for the low and middle-income filers.

Earlier this year the President released his proposed budget for FY2011, which includes decreased funding for the VITA Grant Program, even though working families need increased access to safe financial resources.

Please sign this petition if you feel that more funding is needed for this important program.

Health Care Reform Will Benefit Pennsylvania.

With the enactment of comprehensive health care reform this week, a great step forward has been taken to ensure that all Americans will enjoy more security and stability in their health coverage.

Pennsylvanians who have health coverage will keep their doctors but no longer have to worry about being denied care for a pre-existing condition or being dropped by an insurer when they get sick. Tax credits and other assistance will make health insurance more affordable for Pennsylvania's uninsured families and small businesses.

Despite these and many other benefits, heath care reform is being threatened by federal litigation challenging the law. Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has joined with 12 other state Attorneys General to sue the federal government to block meaningful health reform from taking root in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

If you want health care reform to continue, please send a message to Tom Corbett that this litigation is bad for Pennsylvania. Call the Attorney General's Office at 717-787-3391 or email the office.

To learn more about the benefits of health reform, view one-pagers for each of Pennsylvania's 19 Congressional Districts. To learn more about health care reform in general, please visit our Policy Blog (suggested posts include: Online Tools to Help Decipher the Health Care Bill and What Does Health Care Reform Really Mean?)

State

Help Restore Cuts to State Supplemental Payments

In Pennsylvania 345,000 Pennsylvanians receive State Supplemental Payments (SSP). Individuals who receive SSP are usually people who are very-low-income elderly and/or disabled, struggling to live in the community. Of the recipients, 67,000 are children.

Until now, Pennsylvania provided a monthly SSP to help people afford food, transportation, and medicine. The amount of the payment was $27.40/individual or $43.70/couple. The cuts reduce that by $5.30/individual and $10.40/couple.

To these recipients, this cut is the difference of one meal, one bus trip to a grocery store or to a child’s school event, or one medical co-pay.

The Coalition to Restore SSP Payments to Older PA Citizens and the Disabled is asking people to call, write, or fax their legislators on April 1 from 9 AM to 5 PM. To find your legislators. visit http://www.legis.state.pa.us/.

If you have any questions, you may contact Bill Chrisner at 1-800-538-8070, ext 224 or wchrisner@drnpa.org or Linda Anthony at lanthony@drnpa.org.

Information/Events

Investing in a Prosperous Pennsylvania: A Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Our Workforce and Economy

WHEN: April 19, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
WHERE: The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street Philadelphia PA

The event is split into two parts. For the first hour there will be an interactive Workforce Open House where you can learn about innovative program that are moving youth an adults into learning and career pathways. The remainder of the evening will consist of a forum with Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates regarding how the Commonwealth can best meet the needs of workers, businesses, and local economies in the 2010s and beyond. The discussion will focus on the candidates’ proposals for stimulating job creation and for ensuring that Pennsylvanians receive the education, training, and support they need to secure the jobs of the future.

For more information and to register for the forum please visit http://www.pagovforum.org/. Space is limited, so please register today!

Pennsylvania Health Access Network Health Reform Conference

Join the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) for a conference in Harrisburg to tackle many questions about the next steps for health reform, including implementation at the state level. Speakers and workshops will focus on a variety of topics, including what health care reform will mean for Pennsylvania, how insurance reforms will change the insurance marketplace, steps to improve health care quality and much more.

WHEN:
Evening Reception (recognizing the work of health reform advocates)
Sunday, April 25, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

Health Reform Conference
Monday, April 26, 2010, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 23 S. Second Street, Harrisburg

The cost for the entire event is $25 per participant but there are a limited number of scholarships available. Email Antoinette Kraus at akraus@philaup.org for more information on scholarships.

For more information please see the PHAN Conference Web Page.

To register click here!

PathWays PA is part of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN), which is a coalition of 50 groups from across the Commonwealth working to improve access to quality health care through the expansion of health insurance coverage. To learn more, go to www.pahealthaccess.org.

Grant Opportunity: Encore Volunteer Managers Program 

Fifteen $7,000 grants for Part-Time Volunteer Managers at Philadelphia-area nonprofits are available. The grants were created to increase nonprofit capacity by maximizing the power of volunteers to connect and contribute under the leadership of a trained and certified older adult Volunteer Manager. Volunteer Managers will receive a stipend of $7,000 for one year for 15 to 20 hours per week.

To be eligible the non-profit’s mission should on basic needs, refugees and immigrants, and older adult services.

Agencies that receive the grants will be asked to:
  • Accept approved participants for the exclusive role of Volunteer Manager
  • Ensure that participants are able to perform 15 hours per week as a Volunteer Manager
  • Provide Volunteer Managers with physical space, access to technology (including telephone and computer), staff supervision, orientation and training.
For more information and the application please click here. Application are due by Friday, April 2, 2010, at 5:00 pm. Applicants will be notified by e-mail by Friday, April 16, 2010.

If you have any questions, please e-mail JGlenn@comingofage.org or call (215) 204-6718.

PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances

PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new helpful handbook for managing money written specifically for teens, Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.

This guide not only discusses what teens should understand about their finances, it also assists them in planning for their future.

The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.


Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA

PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.

Philadelphia

PathWays PA West Philly Office
3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.
Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm

PathWays PA EARN Center
926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600.
Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm

Delaware County

PathWays PA Administrative Office
310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022.
Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)

J. Lewis Crozer Library
620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454.
Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
The following Saturdays:
Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000.
The following Tuesdays:
January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
10am - 2pm

Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!

Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth

The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.

Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!

Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.

For additional information please call 215-574-9194.

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.
Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

The Sky Did Not Fall in San Francisco

(cross-posted from Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces blog)

As states and localities continue to debate earned sick time laws, it is important to look at the track record so far in San Francisco, the only city to have had such a law on the books since 2006 (Milwaukee passed a paid sick and safe days ballot initiative in November 2008, but it has been held up in court, and paid sick and safe days legislation took effect in Washington, D.C., in March 2008).  Despite predictions that "the sky would fall" (employees would be laid off, businesses would close), San Francisco has shown that even during a recession, cities can benefit from earned sick time.

In September 2008, IWPR released a report looking at the early impact of earned sick time on the San Francisco economy compared to local counties.  From February 2007-February 2008, employment increases in San Francisco were on-par with Marin and San Mateo counties and "substantially above" the rate of change in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties.  In the restaurant/hospitality industry, where most of the negative impact was expected to occur, employment increased by almost 4 percent between December 2006-December 2007. By comparison, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties showed employment growth of 1 percent or less, while Santa Clara county had negative employment growth.  San Mateo county was the only county with higher employment growth than San Francisco.

More recently, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy released a report showing updated employment numbers for San Francisco.  From December 2006-December 2009, the five counties surrounding San Francisco showed an aggregate change in employment of negative 5.2 percent.  Every county had a higher decline in employment than San Francisco, which showed only a 3 percent decline in employment. Meanwhile, between December 2006-December 2008, both the Leisure and Hospitality industry and the Accommodation and Food Services industry in San Francisco showed higher growth than neighboring counties. 

While the reports do not offer other reasons for the employment differences between San Francisco and its surrounding counties, it seems clear that offering earned sick time has not proved detrimental to the local economy.  Since passage of the bill, both the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association have said that earned sick time had not caused undue hardships for members and was in fact good public policy.

So, as we continue to work on earned sick time here in Pennsylvania and across the country, please remember the positive impacts it has had so far.  If you would like to support earned sick time, please sign our petition, join our coalition, and/or contact your legislators today!

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/denn/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Got 23 Cents to Spare? That's the Cost for One Hour of Earned Sick Time

(cross posted from  the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog)

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers some great information on earned sick time throughout the US.  According to the report:
  • 61 percent of all private industry workers have earned sick time
    • 84 percent of all workers in the occupational group "Management, professional and related" have access to earned sick time
    • 42 percent of all workers in the occupational group "Service" have access to earned sick time
  • 73 percent of full-time private industry workers and 23 percent of part-time private industry workers have access to earned sick time
  • 81 percent of workers in the highest wage bracket have earned sick time, compared to 33 percent in the lowest wage bracket
  • In March 2009, the average cost of sick leave per employee hour worked for private-sector employers was 23 cents.
    • In "Management, professional and related" the cost is 53 cents
    • In "Service" the cost is only 8 cents
In Pennsylvania, 46 percent of all workers lack earned sick time.  In Philadelphia, 44 percent of all workers lack earned sick time.  How can you take action? Check out the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog to learn more!


image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/uhuru1701/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Movement on Summer Youth Funding

From our friends at the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals


Earlier this week, Chairman David Obey (D-WI) introduced H.R. 4899, Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of 2010. This measure would provide $600 million for summer youth programs. Timing of House consideration is still up in the air, but it could come up as early as today. This program supports our local and national economy, and provides a meaningful way to engage youth.

If you support this program, please contact your member of Congress today and request that he or she support H.R. 4899. Explain how important it is that the Summer Youth programs receive this much needed funding. Be sure to share any success stories that you have. The more personal you can make your story – the better!

To find the phone number for your Member of Congress, simply go to www.house.gov.


image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/befuddledsenses/ / CC BY 2.0

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 24, 2010

State Budget

On Monday, Representative Vitali withdrew amendments he had offered that were meant to halt or hinder natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which would have also required a $110 million cut to basic education funding.

With no other amendments, including one originally proposed by Representative Levdansky, brought up for debate, the House of Representatives yesterday approved the expenses portion of the Governor’s proposed budget (HB 2279) by a vote of 107 to 89. The budget includes $26.26 billion in state funds and $2.76 billion in federal stimulus money for a total of $29.03 billion in spending. The revenue portion of the budget is likely to be debated in the House in April.

In the House budget proposal, spending for many programs would continue at levels below FY 2008-09, and most departments would see cuts to their funding. The plan would restore state funding for basic education and provide additional support using federal stimulus dollars. A few other areas, including health care and public safety, would see modest increases.

After the House passes the revenue package both bills will go to the Senate where they are not planned to be move until May and are likely to face opposition.


Philadelphia Budget

Philadelphia City Council has begun to hold hearings on the Mayor’s proposed budget, which calls for a tax on sugary drinks and a $300 fee for trash collection.

In lieu of the Mayor’s proposed plan to raise revenue, some Council members are calling for an increase in property taxes by 12 percent. The argument for this tax is property taxes can be deducted from federal income-tax returns, so residents would see some of that money back. The problem with the plan is the current status of the Board of Revisions of Taxes in Philadelphia, whose recent problems have caused a moratorium on new property assessments until the city felt the data was reliable.

City Council will continue to hold hearings on the city’s budget. To view the hearing schedule, please click here.

Did You Know...

That 21 percent, or one in five, households are struggling to make ends meet in Pennsylvania?

The cuts to services that resulted from last years budget only made the struggle greater for people in Pennsylvania. If you or your clients have been impacted by the service cuts, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Budget Coalitions

Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is forming a coalition to bring together individuals, organizations and coalitions working for a state budget that funds essential public services, invests in the future, and has a fair and stable revenue structure.

Coalition members will work in support of:
  • A balanced approach to the state budget shortfall.
  • A state budget that builds upon sound public investments.
  • A state budget that addresses the immediate crisis and prepares for the future.
  • A state budget that includes productive, stable revenue that reflect today’s economy.

To learn more about the Coalition and to become a part of it see the Sign-On Form.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition (formally 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 Budget Coalition to stay informed and participate in collective budget action throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Go to http://pabudgetnow.wordpress.com for more information.


Did You Know...

That 18 percent of adults in Pennsylvania have not graduated from high school?

Programs that provide adult education are crucial to help individuals obtain the skills they need to obtain a job that pays a self-sufficient wage. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for adult education, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.


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.

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.


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.

Another Program Included in Healthcare - The CLASS Act

People haven't said much about it (until today's posting on the New York Times), but the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act has been included as part of the healthcare reform bill signed this week.  Under the CLASS Act, workers can choose to opt-in to a voluntary payroll deduction, which in turn will result in their receiving a minimum benefit of $50 per day to purchase non-medical long-term care services and supports when needed in retirement.

Thanks to everyone who helped promote the CLASS Act!

image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Census: Help Children Get Counted.

Children Count Too! United States Census 2010We've mentioned it before, but in Census years, children are the most likely to be undercounted.  According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, young children are missed at a higher rate than any other group, with 1 million children undercounted in the 2000 Census.

In order to highlight the need for counting children, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed a toolkit (which includes Dora the Explorer factsheets and web buttons) to help spread the word.   Remember, when children are undercounted, it leads to a loss of fund for schools, HeadStart, and other important programs. Please work with your friends, colleagues, and clients to make sure everyone is counted in the Census this year!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Online Tools to Help Decipher the Health Care Bill

If you want to learn more about what is in the health care bill and how you will be affected please see the online tools below:

What Does Health Care Reform Really Mean?

Now that a health care reform bill has passed, many are wondering what the bill will really do for them. Below is a timeline of when aspects of the bill will go into effect:

In three months:
  • Individuals who have not been able to find coverage because of a pre-existing condition will be eligible for subsidized coverage through a high-risk insurance program.
In six months:
  • Many insurance plans will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on medical coverage,
  • Insurance companies can no longer cancel policies of people who become ill,
  • Children with pre-existing conditions can not be denied coverage, and
  • Dependent children can remain on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26.
In one year:
  • Senior citizens will receive more help paying for drugs in Medicare,
  • There will be more oversight of premium increases, and
  • Businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average wages of less than $50,000 could qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the cost of their premiums.
In 2013:
  • Individuals with annual incomes over $200,000 and couples with annual incomes over $250,000 will be required to pay an additional 3.8 percent tax on their investment income and will contribute more to the Medicare program from their payroll taxes, and
  • The most expensive insurance policies will be subject to a new tax.
In 2014:
  • State insurance marketplaces called “exchanges" will be created,
  • Individuals with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied insurance,
  • State Medicaid programs will be expanded,
  • All lifetime and annual limits on coverage would be eliminated
  • Employers with 50 or more workers could face federal fines for not providing insurance coverage,
  • Individuals who do not obtain coverage could face a federal penalty (In the first year they would owe $95, or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. The penalty would then increase to $695, or 2 percent of income. Families who fall below the income-tax filing thresholds would not owe anything. Nor would people who cannot find a policy that costs less than 8 percent of their income.)

Green Jobs Need Women - And Women Need Green Jobs

On Saturday, March 20, PathWays PA and other organizations participated in The WOMENomics Forum (co-sponsored by the Friends of Delaware County Women's Commission, Eastern Delco and Interboro Business & Professional Women, Delaware County Women's Commission, The Center Foundation, PathWays PA, The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, and Delaware County Council), where we spoke about green jobs for women. A copy of our presentation is below, and a description of the event appeared in The Delaware County Daily Times on Monday.

If you are interested in green jobs, now is the time to get involved. The Sustainable Business Network just released a list of green jobs available in Philadelphia, including information on the education level needed to access these jobs. For more information on women and green jobs, you can also visit the Women's Economic Security Campaign.

Monday, March 22, 2010

PathWays PA Invites You to a Resource Fair and Publication Release

Think the Need For Equal Pay is Over? Think Again.

An article published this weekend in Newsweek highlights the struggles women have faced, and continue to face, in finding equity in workplace earnings.  A new report from IWPR shows that in 2008, the ratio of women's full-time median annual earnings compared to men's was 77.1 - in other words, women earned 77.1% of what men did over the year.

While pregnancy and child-rearing has long been blamed for the difference in earnings between men and women, the fact remains that just one year out of college, women are earning only 80 percent of the wages of male colleagues - even after earning higher GPAs in college.  Here are some other facts you might find interesting:
  • Even 10 years out of college, full-time working women who have not had children earn 77 percent of what men are earning.
  • 43 percent of all women work in one of four occupations: secretary, registered nurse, teacher, and cashier, also known as "pink-collar" jobs.  Overall, more than half of all women work in sales, clerical, or service jobs, which usually offer low wages and few benefits.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while women are more likely then men to work in professional and related occupations, they are less likely then men to work in the higher-paying positions in those fields.
  •  Over their lifetime, women lose between $400,000 and $2 million in earnings.  This loss affects not only women, but also their families.
As Equal Pay Day approaches next month, let's work together to mark the day in our homes, businesses, and government.  Take a moment to talk to your legislators about the Paycheck Fairness Act - and take a moment to talk to the people in your life about the need for gender equity at work.

image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/squeakymarmot/ / CC BY 2.0

    Health Care Reform Passes

    After many months of hearings, studies, rallies, and negotiations, health care reform finally is a reality. Last night the House of Representatives passed a final package of health care reforms. While the final bill may not be perfect, the legislation will protect Americans from harmful insurance industry practices, offer the uninsured and small businesses the chance to obtain affordable health care, and cover 32 million uninsured Americans. The measure passed the House by a vote of 220 to 211.

    For some members this vote was a very difficult one but one they chose to make to the benefit of so many Americans. If you are supportive of health care reform, please take the time to see how your legislator voted and let them know if you agree with that vote.

    PathWays PA E-Newsletter: March 22, 2010

    As the State House is preparing to vote on the Governor’s budget proposal, this week’s E-Newsletter is focusing on the State Budget including updates and action steps.

    State

    House to Vote on Budget Today

    Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Governor’s proposed budget bill.

    The Representatives are voting early this year, 100 days before the budget is due, to show their commitment to have an on-time budget – after a 101-day delay in passing last year’s budget. If the bill passes the House, it will then go to the Senate where it is expected to stay for some time.


    Potential Amendments to State Budget Mean Cuts to Education and Other Services

    Two Representatives have filed amendments to the Budget Bill that would cut funding. The amendments are meant to halt or hinder natural gas drilling on state land in the Marcellus Shale. The amendments include:
    • Representative Greg Vitali's amendment, which would take $110 million from education funding.
    • Representative David Levdansky's amendment, which would cut $110 million from Corrections, Probation and Parole, Department of Public Welfare administration, Economic Development and Basic Education.
    The House Appropriations Committee has included $180 million worth of Marcellus Shale leases in the budget proposal as a way to raise revenue for the state.


    Action Alerts

    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:

    Child Welfare

    Every child should grow up in a home where he or she feels safe and part of a loving and nurturing family. Yet in 2008, Pennsylvania’s child welfare system investigated more than 25,000 reports of child abuse and provided in-home services to the families of more than 120,000 children to address the underlying causes of child abuse and neglect (such as substance abuse or inadequate housing). Cutting funds to programs and services that protect children will mean that fewer children will be protected.

    If you or your clients find child welfare programs to be important, please contact your state legislators today and let them know just how important the programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.

    Adult Literacy and Family Education

    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.

    Industry Partnerships

    Particularly during a recession, programs that provide workers with the tools, skills, and contacts to find stable and better paying jobs are crucial. Workers who participate in the Industry Partnership program have seen an average 6.62 percent increase in their wages within the first year after training, meaning they are better able to support themselves and/or their families.

    If you or your clients have benefited from Industry Partnerships, please let your legislators know by emailing or calling their offices and ask them to keep funding this program.


    Budget Coalitions

    Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition

    The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is forming a coalition to bring together individuals, organizations and coalitions working for a state budget that funds essential public services, invests in the future, and has a fair and stable revenue structure.

    Coalition members will work in support of:
    • A balanced approach to the state budget shortfall.
    • A state budget that builds upon sound public investments.
    • A state budget that addresses the immediate crisis and prepares for the future.
    • A state budget that includes productive, stable revenue that reflect today’s economy.
    To learn more about the Coalition and to become a part of it see the Sign-On Form.

    The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition

    The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition (formally 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 Budget Coalition to stay informed and participate in collective budget action throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Go to http://pabudgetnow.wordpress.com for more information.


    PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

    PathWays PA New Publication: Keeping it Real – Teen Finances

    PathWays PA is excited to announce the completion of a new helpful handbook for managing money written specifically for teens, Keeping it Real: Teen Finances.

    This guide not only discusses what teens should understand about their finances, it also assists them in planning for their future.

    The guide focuses on such areas as understanding your paycheck, budgeting, banking, financial contracts, credit, and insurance. It also includes goal setting, finding a job, education, child care, and housing.

    Free Tax Preparation from PathWays PA


    PathWays PA’s basic tax preparation service is designed to provide free tax filing for households whose income does not exceed $50,000. We can also assist tax filers who are disabled or who do not speak English as their first language.

    If you or someone you know would like to have taxes prepared by the Self Sufficiency team, please call the numbers below to schedule an appointment.

    Philadelphia

    PathWays PA West Philly Office
    3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA
    To schedule an appointment call Linda at 215-387-1470.
    Mondays 10am – 2pm (starting February 1st)
    Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm -6pm

    PathWays PA EARN Center
    926 W. Allegheny Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19133
    To schedule an appointment call 215-226-2600.
    Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30am -12:30pm (starting January 27th)
    Saturdays January 30 and February 6 10am - 2pm


    Delaware County

    PathWays PA Administrative Office
    310 Amosland Road Holmes, PA 19043
    To schedule an appointment call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022.
    Mondays and Wednesdays 2pm - 6pm
    Fridays 10am-2pm (starting January 29th)

    J. Lewis Crozer Library
    620 Engle Street Chester, PA 19013
    To schedule an appointment call 610-494-3454.
    Wednesdays 4pm - 7pm (starting January 27th)
    The following Saturdays:
    Feb 13, March 6, April 10 9:30am -12:30pm

    Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
    Wharf at Rivertown- 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester
    To schedule an appointment call 610-619-7000.
    The following Tuesdays:
    January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23
    10am - 2pm

    Please feel free to refer your eligible friends and family to our services!

    Change a Life: Become a Mentor to Foster Youth

    The Achieving Independence Center (AIC) wants caring and supportive adults willing to build a friendship with a foster care youth. You can be that big brother or sister a youth in foster care needs by sharing your life experiences, time, and friendship. Having a shoulder to lean on when times get tough helps young people stay focused and not lose hope.

    Whether it is providing them with caring support, friendship, or helping them with their aspirations (personal and professional), the AIC Mentoring Program can match you with a young person between the ages of 16-21 who could benefit from your knowledge and experience.

    The AIC is a “one-stop” center designed to assist young people ages 16-21 achieve their future goals of self-sufficiency. The AIC is dedicated to providing support and real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future!

    Help a youth build their self-esteem and achieve their personal goals. You make a difference by simply getting involved.

    For additional information please call 215-574-9194.

    Take Action on Earned Sick Time

    48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

    There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
    • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
    • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
    • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
    • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
    • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.


    Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

    PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

    Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

    If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


    Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

    PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

    For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    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 SEPAbudget-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.


    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 http://pabudgetnow.wordpress.com 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.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    NPR Series: The Work-Life Balance

    (Cross post from the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog)

    The majority of our society no longer looks the way it did in the 1950s, with one member of the household, generally the husband, working outside the home. Today, if two adults are in a household, both of their incomes are usually needed to keep up with the added costs of daily life. In other households, single parents may be on their own caring for their children. These new family models make the standard 40 hour, 9-to-5 workweek difficult for many parents.

    To discuss this issue, NPR is doing a three-part series on how employers can give employees some flexibility so they can have more of a work-life balance. Some of the techniques used by employers include flex-time, results-only work environments, and telecommuting. Employers interviewed in the first segment said that by giving employees more options, they have a more productive staff and less turnover.

    First, more and more employers are discovering that loosening the traditionally rigid work schedule pays off. [Katie] Sleep says her retention rate over 16 years is an astonishing 95 percent. And study after study shows productivity also shoots up. More than half of companies now say they offer flextime, and one-third allow telecommuting at least part-time.

    To read or listen to the first two parts of the series see More Employers Make Room for Work-Life Balance and The End Of 9-To-5: When Work Time Is Anytime. Stay tuned for part three tomorrow.