United Way of Pennsylvania          

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UWP Update - November 22, 2019

UWP wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

State hotline study requested by UWP passed the PA House   
This week, HR 507 passed the PA House unanimously, with a final vote of 198-0. This resolution was introduced by Rep. Marcia Hahn (R-Northampton) and directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study on state-run hotlines in the various health and human services agencies, including Dept. of Human Services, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Aging, Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs, PA Housing Finance Agency, and the PA Public Utility Commission. The resolution is now final - it does not need to be considered by the Senate as each chamber can independently direct LBFC studies by resolution.   
 
The study will address how many hotlines are either fully or partially staffed by state employees, the logistical components of each hotline, as well as their current cost to the state. Further, the study will look at the value of these hotlines to Pennsylvanians. Included in this analysis will be contracted hotlines through the above-mentioned state departments, which will include PA 211. As the resolution is written, agencies and contracted entities will have 30 days to submit the requested information, and then the LBFC will have 6 months to complete their study. This timeline will put us close to the budget negotiations and will certainly help PA 211 in our advocacy outreach for the full $1.5 million appropriation we are seeking.
 
We will continue to keep members updated on the progress of this study and will send out talking points explaining the study at the beginning of the new year.
UWP submitted comments on PA's proposed overtime rule, which was ultimately withdrawn by Administration in attempt to compromise on minimum wage increase  
The Wolf Administration moved forward a proposal which would increase the state-level earning threshold for overtime requirements for executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) salaried workers. This proposal would have established higher thresholds than the federal rule that will take effect January 1.  

In a series of fast-paced events this week, the Senate passed legislation which would increase the state minimum wage to $9.50 per hour ( SB 79) and also place a moratorium on adoption of the proposed overtime rule. Some business advocates deemed the proposed overtime rule to be more damaging than a $2.25 per hour minimum wage increase, and so a compromise emerged. The overtime rule was estimated to make 82,000 more Pennsylvanians eligible for overtime pay. The minimum wage increase of $2 per hour would be phased in over two years starting July 1, 2020.  Based on data in a recent Independent Fiscal Office analysis of minimum wage proposals, in 2018 there were 26,000 individuals working full time and earning between $7.25-an-hour and $8-an-hour, while there were another 89,000 individuals working part time and earning within that hourly wage rate range.
 
UWP submitted comments to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission regarding the proposed rule. We appreciate the feedback from membership on how this proposed rule would impact your local United Way and partner agencies.

While the Senate passed SB 79 with strong bipartisan support, 42 to 7, members of the PA House Republican caucus have expressed opposition to increasing the minimum wage. And, some Democratic members are unsatisfied with the $2.25 per hour increase, so it is unclear whether there will be enough votes in the House to pass SB 79. Governor Wolf indicated he will reintroduce the overtime rule if the compromise does not pass. 
 
We will continue to monitor the progress and keep members updated.
Mission: Readiness report on education and national security
Mission: Readiness is a nonpartisan national security organization of retired officers, calling for smart investment in America's children. On November 12, they released a new report at the Harrisburg Capitol, alongside Governor Wolf, detailing the impact that workforce readiness gaps among adults are having on the military. The report  outlines how competition for qualified workers across all sectors negatively impacts military recruiting efforts, as well as the staffing needs of civilian businesses and organizations.

Especially stressed in the report, was the critical importance of cultivating a child's brain development from birth to age five through accessible, high-quality child care and early childhood education programs. Another proposed solution was to increase K-12 education funding, to ensure that PA's youth are college- and job-ready, for either civilian or military career paths. 

Mission:Readiness is a principal partner of the Early Learning PA advocacy campaigns: Pre-K for PA, Start Strong PA, and Childhood Begins at Home. 
"Case for High-Quality Infant and Toddler Child Care" report available
Start Strong PA released "The Case for High-Quality Infant and Toddler Child Care" in Harrisburg on Monday, November 18. The report is designed to help policymakers and the public understand what high quality child care is, and why it matters. The four-page report can be accessed here. 
 
High-quality child care settings are succinctly described as:
  1. Offering safe, nurturing and responsive environments where children grow, learn and succeed;
  2. Allowing families to work knowing children are with qualified and caring professionals; and
  3. Fostering the social, physical, emotional and cognitive development of young children.
In a press release about the report, the Start Strong PA campaign, of which United Way of Pennsylvania is a principal partner, provided background on the developmental urgency as well as the workforce development reasons to be concerned about access to high quality child care. With 69% of families having both parents working, and with 70% of all mothers in the labor force, high-quality childcare settings can have a positive, lasting impact on brain growth. Only 43% of child care capacity in the state currently meets high-quality standards as determined by Keystone STARS. Many families do not currently have access to high-quality child care.

Infant and toddler care also offers a support system for hardworking families, and develops a strong community and economy. Parents, employers and taxpayers benefit from an affordable and accessible child care system.

Year-to-date revenue collections exceed expectations, but deficit still expected in current budget 

Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office released its five-year economic outlook on November 14, showing projected growth in both GDP and wages for Pennsylvania in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Wage growth is also expected to outpace inflation in each of those years. Pennsylvania jobs are growing, mostly in the healthcare sector, for home health services and services for the elderly and disabled. There has also been an increase in transportation, warehouse and trucking jobs. Construction jobs are decreasing. 

For the state budget, the IFO calculates a revenue surplus of $320 million in the current fiscal year, with revenue increases driven by corporate net income, personal income and sales and use taxes. However, due to projected supplemental funding needs of about $780 million, current projections indicate a year-end deficit of just over $400 million. Budget deficits are predicted in each of the next five fiscal years, with the highest deficit projected to be $1.3 billion in FY 2022-2023. 

The PA Department of Revenue release for month end of October reported year-to-date revenue collections exceeding estimates by $164.2 million, or 1.6 percent. All of the major revenue categories were higher than expected in October. 

The PA IFO report also predicts other demographic and economic trends not reported here. To review more data, click here
United Way of PA has moved!
United Way of PA is pleased to be settling in to our new office at:

20 Erford Road
Suite 215 
Lemoyne, PA 17043

Please make sure you update our mailing address in your system! Our phone numbers will stay the same.

Are you ready for #GivingTuesday?
December 3 is fast approaching! If you haven't started preparations yet, don't fret; your Network has you covered this year. You can use UWW's extensive resources, peruse UWP's #GivingTuesday trends (part 1,part 2) for PA LUWs, check out Facebook's toolkit (did you hear, they're matching donations this year!), or get into GivingTuesday.org's resources.

#GivingTuesday is the biggest giving movement in the world, raising over $400 million across 150 countries in 2018. Did you know that 25% of #GivingTuesday donors are new donors? It's a critical day for our entire United Way network to increase followers, acquire new email leads, and ultimately increase giving in local communities with a consistent and powerful call to action. So, get out there and join the #GivingTuesday movement! Start posting now to maximize returns!

Pro tip: Change your social media icon to the #GivingTuesday logo on or before Dec. 3!

Communities invited to share information about lead removal/ remediation
In August, Governor Wolf announced his Lead-Free Pennsylvania initiative to call attention to the need for a law requiring universal blood level testing of children according to federal guidelines, and to convene regional task forces to address specific local needs. The Wolf Administration is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) through the Department of Human Services to gather input on local efforts and needs to reduce lead exposure in Pennsylvania.

Information requested includes details on the knowledge and experience of communities working to remove lead hazards from child care centers, schools, homes, playgrounds, and other places where children live, learn, and play. The information received from the RFI will help to inform the regional task forces and allow the state to provide a detailed proposal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by the end of the year. This proposal will request authorization to permit use of CHIP Health Services Initiatives (HSI) funds to address specific community needs around lead exposure and remediation.

RFI responses are due by 12 p.m., December 2. Responses must be submitted electronically to RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV with the subject line "Lead Exposure Reduction Program RFI". 
Upcoming training opportunities for PA United Ways
UWW Community Engagement and Collective Impact
December 4, 2019 2:00PM
Community Engagement is about ensuring that those who are most impacted by the complex societal challenges that collective impact initiatives are seeking to address are authentically included in defining problems, and designing and implementing solutions. This webinar will share a series of strategies and tools for United Ways to use in planning community engagement to be more purposeful, equitable, transparent, and strategic so that community residents and grassroots leaders are true partners for achieving impact. We will also hear from multiple local United Ways, who will share their experiences with engaging community as part of their impact work.

ALICEĀ® Learning Community Webinar: ALICE Enrichment Fund
December 9, 2019 1:00 pm
United Way of Western Connecticut will join United Way of Pennsylvania to present their ALICE Enrichment Fund. The ALICE Enrichment Fund provides families who fall within the ALICE income category financial subsidies for their children to participate in extracurricular activities. The goal is to help close the gap between children from families who currently do not have access to extracurricular activities (including, but not limited to sports, arts, field trips, clubs) and those who do.
They will discuss how they developed the fund and created relationships with community partners to support it. Please join us to learn more!

2020 Census Resources and Planning for United Ways Webinar
December 16 1:30PM
UWP and PA 211 are partnering to encourage Pennsylvanians to fill out the Census. Starting in September, PA 211 began pushing SMS messages to individuals that have opted-in to our SMS alert system. This one-way messaging will continue throughout the year and 2020 with informative messages related to the Census. In addition to this partnership, UWP has put together a toolkit with templates, messaging, and informative pieces that will be of use to you throughout your Census outreach. We're also working on developing strategic partnerships and collaborating with organizations to make sure our population is counted accurately for the 2020 Census. Join us to learn more!

 


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