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UWP Update - July 3, 2019
PA's budget is signed - final analysis from UWP
The Governor has signed the agreed-to budget for this upcoming year. The 2019-2020 fiscal year budget is a $33.997 billion dollar spending plan, which is roughly a 1.8-percent increase from the previous year's budget after taking into account supplemental appropriations to the FY 2018-2019 state budget. This budget spends about $150 million less than the Governor proposed in his February budget. The official revenue estimate certified by the Governor's budget office for the upcoming fiscal year is $35.5 billion. 

On July 2, the PA Department of Revenue announced a year-end FY 2018-2019 surplus totaling $883.1 million after another strong revenue performance in June. This number will determine how much is to be deposited to the State's Rainy Day fund, an accomplishment feted by Republicans and Democrats. 

United Way of Pennsylvania is happy to report some key investments that support PA 2-1-1 and early childhood services from birth to age 5. United Way will continue to work on these priorities in future state budgets, and hope that state lawmakers will strengthen their commitment to PA 2-1-1 and early childhood services in next year's budget.
 
Statewide 2-1-1
Lawmakers continued their investment in a grant program to support statewide 2-1-1, and level-funded PA 2-1-1 service with $750,000. This investment is short of our request of $1.5 million, but we are pleased that the Governor and the General Assembly continue to support a small public investment in PA 2-1-1. Every year, the number of contacts to 2-1-1 are growing, and we are developing more partnerships that serve community members in need, regardless of income level.. As 2-1-1's value grows in Pennsylvania, we are looking for more state funding to leverage United Way's financial commitment to the PA 2-1-1 service.
 
High Quality Pre-K, Head Start and Child Care
We are happy to share that there was an increased investment of $30 million into high quality Pre-K and Head Start programs. Funding for Pre-K Counts was increased by $25 million, and funding for Head Start Supplemental Assistance Increased by $5 million. Pre-K and Head Start investments have doubled during the first 5 years of Governor Wolf's term. These funds will allow 2,200 additional children to be served in Pre-K, and roughly 465 new children in Head Start. Overall, United Way of PA and the Pre-K for PA campaign are happy with the continued investment into early learning. You can read their budget reaction here.
 
High quality and affordable child care is an important support for Pennsylvania's hard-working ALICE families. Child care appropriations were allocated $27 million in new federal funding to expand subsidized care and invest in quality improvements to the system. These funds are projected to result in 970 children being removed from the waiting list, as well as an increase to tiered reimbursement rates for STAR 2, 3, and 4 providers. United Way of PA and the Start Strong PA campaign applauds legislators for these investments and passing a budget that "funds what works". However, the gains Pennsylvania saw with the federal funding were offset by a decrease of $36 million in state investments for child care, which were replaced by federal funds. If the state had maintained or increased its commitment, many more gains could be realized for high quality child care. Read the Start Strong PA reaction here.
 
Human Services
Overall, the total human services spend number was significantly less than the budget number last year, with a decrease of $97.3 million. The majority portion of this decrease is due to funding transfers to the state's Community HealthChoices Medicaid managed long-term care program, as well as the child care state funding cuts. Additionally, the General Assistance cash program, which was one of the sticking points for House Democrats who voted no on the budget, was defunded. In general, aside from those points mentioned above, independent human services line items were either flat-funded or slightly increased by 1 to 4 percent. 

Some other items that were standouts in this year's budget include:
  • $84.8 million increase in funding for the Community Waiver Program to provide home and community-based care for 865 individuals on the emergency waiting list and an additional $12 million to increase the rate of home care workers being increased by 2%;
  • An increase $25 million for the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program and an increase to $90,000 for the income threshold of families, which is up from $85,000;
  • 10-percent increases for domestic violence and rape crisis services
  • Expands on the innovative PAsmart workforce development program by again providing $20 million for STEM and computer science education, $10 million for job training and apprenticeships and an additional $10 million to support career and technical education.;
  • An investment of $60 million into school safety;
  • An increase of $5 million for a 3% increase in Infant Toddler service rates for early intervention;
  • An increase of $26.3 million for Mental Health Services to provide home and community-based services for 45 individuals in state hospitals; and 
  • $5 million increase for public libraries
There were several items that are not included in the budget, such as funding to support a complete count in the U.S. Census. In addition, as has been well-publicized, there is no minimum wage increase negotiated with this budget. The minimum wage issue will remain a discussion item in the Capitol this fall, with leaders on both sides of the aisle stating that members of their caucus are studying the effects of a lower increase than the Governor proposed.
Governor Wolf celebrates doubling of funding for Pre-K and Head Start under his leadership

On Friday, June 28, in his first press conference following the completion of the state budget, Governor Wolf convened the Pre-K for PA campaign, Secretary Pedro Rivera, children benefitting from high quality Pre-K, and others to celebrate a major accomplishment. Public investments in high quality Pre-K and Head Start have more than doubled in the first five years of his term. While announcing this success, he expressed his commitment to keep working for thousands of children who are still missing out on this opportunity.

The impact of the high quality pre-k increases is a total of $145 million annually, which allows 13,500 additional at-risk children to be served. "Investing in high-quality pre-k for thousands of our youngest children is an investment in Pennsylvania's future," said Gov. Wolf. "Early education is proven to help kids prepare for kindergarten, laying the groundwork to succeed in the classroom for years to come." And, as the United Way of PA ALICE report shows, education attainment is a predictor of future earnings, so this is a multi-generation strategy to support more Pennsylvanians achieving financial stability.

United Way is thankful for the support of Governor Wolf and legislators on both sides of the aisle who have supported these increases in a show of bipartisanship. We agree with the Pre-K for PA campaign that there is more work to be done, and we will continue our advocacy for even more public investment in the next state budget cycle. 

Governor Wolf also celebrated a $1.2 billion increase in total across education from pre-k to grade 12. You can read the full press release here

ICYMI: A run-down of other legislation passed with budget
With the push to get the budget done, many other pieces of legislation did not get the attention they may have otherwise. Read below about the bills that may be of most interest to our network. 

SB 48 is a piece of legislation that tackles various election reform initiatives that were a priority to many Senate and House members. Nonprofits who conduct voter education and nonpartisan get out the vote efforts should be aware of these potential changes. The bill would eliminate the option to vote straight party in a general election. Voters will still be able to select all candidates from one party, but must go through each individual race to do so. Absentee ballots will be able to be delivered by hand to the county board of elections until 5:00 p.m. the day before the election, and mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked the Friday before the election. The legislation would also provide for a $90 million bond to help counties to purchase new voting machines. Currently, the bill is sitting on Governor Wolf's desk awaiting his signature; however, it is unclear whether he will sign the bill.

Another piece of legislation that was included in the budget package was the school code bill, House Bill 1615, which included various language that would be effective starting in the 2019-2020 school year. Part of this language includes a change in Pennsylvania's compulsory school age. Prior to this enacted budget, children did not need to begin school until age 8 and were able to dropout at age 17. Now, children must begin school at age 6 and are not able to dropout or leave school until age 18, or upon graduation. Pennsylvania had one of the oldest compulsory school ages in the country prior to this change.

The budget's tax code bill, HB 262, included an increase to the cap on state realty transfer tax dollars available to be transferred to the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund. Previously capped at $25 million, based on strong revenue performance for the RTT, PHARE can now receive $40 million. The PHARE fund's purpose is to create more affordable housing, provide services that help keep Pennsylvanians in their homes, helps low-income people become first time homeowners, and provides funding to communities to address blight.  United Way of PA and several local United Ways have successfully applied for PHARE funding to support regional and local housing work in recent years. 

Finally, another bipartisan celebration occurred with the signing of HB 3 to create a state-based health insurance exchange. It is being touted as a way to increase access to health care, and to make exchange coverage more affordable. It costs Pennsylvania approximately $100 million in fees to operate on Healthcare.gov, but PA can now build its own exchange at a cost of about $30 million. The savings will be used to establish a reinsurance pool to cover "outlier claims" that normally cause premiums to increase. 
ALICE┬« to be discussed on WITF's Smart Talk, and at PA AFL-CIO's Community Services Institute    
On July 10, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr will join UWP's Kristen Rotz, and United Way of the Capital Region's Tim Fatzinger to talk about ALICE on Smart Talk, hosted by Scott Lamar. The show will focus on understanding the ALICE report, how the ALICE data is being used by United Way, workforce development strategies and the overlap of ALICE as employer and employee in small businesses across the state.

Even if you live outside the WITF listening area, you will be able to tune in for a live stream here The show is recorded live at 9 a.m., and re-airs every evening at 7p.m. A recording of the show will be available as a podcast as well.
 
On July 12, at a convening of PA AFL-CIO members for the 2019 Community Services Institute, UWP will present the ALICE report alongside Dave Madsen, Labor Liaison and Community Impact Manager at United Way of the Capital Region. We will introduce important data from the report, and discuss ways in which labor can engage with local United Ways to support ALICE. 

UWP will keep members updated as we continue our ALICE outreach which may help you make more connections in your local community.

Learn More about UpPurpose: A Content Creation and Management Tool for Nonprofits

In 2017, online giving equaled over $30 billion. This illustrates the rapid change taking the non-profit sector overall.
 
United Way Worldwide launched UpPurpose, a cloud-based technology platform and creative agency designed to offer high quality digital content through non-profits to the right people, through the right channels, at the right time. This is designed to help organizations foster deep connections with donors through amazing stories.
 
UpPurpose offers several content creation services ranging from websites to social media posts. They also offer cloud-based content tools to help you create and publish your campaigns, as well as track who is being reached and when. This can help you meet your goals and show where you can improve.
 
Arlie Sisson, CEO and Founder of UpPurpose, will be joining United Way of PA to showcase what UpPurpose can offer for United Ways.

UpPurpose was featured at the Community Leaders Impact Conference this year, so this is a great opportunity for staff who couldn't attend CLIC to learn more and ask questions! The conference session was popular with United Ways of all sizes and we'd be thrilled to share this opportunity with you!

The webinar will take place on:

July 10th, 2019
1:00PM - 2:00PM
ALICE® Press Page Updates
United Way of PA is still receiving press alerts about our ALICE Launch and the ALICE Report. So far we've been able to collect: 

  • Nine editorials from journalists and community members regarding the data in the ALICE Report
  • Nine local TV news stories
  • Twenty-eight articles in local newspapers, digital news sources, and other written media. 
Please take a look at our media page at any time to get the most recent ALICE articles. If you have an article that is not on our page, but should be, please reach out to Amanda McNaughton with the link to the story. 

We are also compiling news stories that are not available digitally, so if you have any clippings, send them along as well! 
United Way of Bucks Promoting 2-1-1
United Way of Bucks County is ramping up efforts to promote PA 2-1-1 in their community. Despite 2-1-1 being available in Bucks County, prior to now there was a disconnect between PA 2-1-1 and Bucks County local resources. Thanks to the efforts of United Way of Bucks County and the investments they've made in 2-1-1, residents can now rely on 2-1-1 providing the best referrals. 

PA 2-1-1 has received excellent local news coverage because of United Way of Bucks County efforts. Local lawmakers, residents, and community stakeholders are all working together to provide the service to all county residents. 

To see the articles mentioning the work PA 2-1-1 is accomplishing in Bucks County, olease visit the Courier Times or Bucks Local News.  
 


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