United Way of Pennsylvania
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UWP Update - February 3, 2017
Tax season is getting into swing as many VITA sites have opened up in the last week or so. United Way also provides Myfreetaxes.com for free online tax filing for people who earned less than $64,000 last year. United Way helps working Americans simplify tax filing and claim important credits. (Photo credit: United Way of Wayne and Lackawanna) 
Tuesday, February 6 is Governor Wolf's budget address

Governor Wolf's team is putting the finishing touches on his 2017-2018 state budget proposal which will be released on Tuesday, February 6, 2017. He has given preview to some items that will be in the proposed budget, as well as those that will not. 

The Governor has stated that he will not propose any broad-based tax increases, but that he will again propose a natural gas severance tax. This will be a difficult budget to balance because the state is expected to end the year with about a $700 million shortfall for the current budget, plus an ongoing structural deficit of just shy of $2 billion. 

Aside from revenue and spending cuts, there have been lots of mentions of state government reform as an option to balance the budget. On Monday, January 30, the Governor formally announced his plan to combine four state agencies into one - merging the Departments of Human Services, Aging, Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs into the Department of Health and Human Services. 

There is little that is known at this point as to how the consolidation will work, what savings it will generate or what the new Department will look like. UWP does not have a position on this proposed merger, pending additional information and a discussion with our public policy committee later in February. 

UWP staff will view the Governor's budget address, summarize it, as well as reactions from the caucuses, do some analysis of the actual proposed appropriations, and send our members a rundown of issues that relate to United Way's agenda. Please watch your email and upcoming editions of this newsletter for additional information. If you would like to view the budget address, you will be able to stream it live through each of the House caucus web sites ( www.pahousegop.com or  www.pahouse.com). 

2-1-1 Day brings recognition for our work to connect people to resources

PA 2-1-1 Day is next Saturday, February 11th! We hope you are gearing up to help celebrate this great day with us!  Our United Way network and our 2-1-1 partners have put a lot of time and effort into the 2-1-1 system, and 2-1-1 Day is a great way to showcase the comprehensive system developed to address needs in your communities.  

UWP will be hosting a PA 2-1-1 Day press event on Thursday, February 9th with Representative Stephen Bloom and Senator Pat Browne.  This press event will be a kick-off to our 2-1-1 Day celebration, as we highlight how this system is helping Pennsylvanians get information and referrals to address their specific needs and how we may develop a public-private partnership with the State to contract on a number of services with 2-1-1.  More information will be shared shortly on how to view this press conference.  

In addition to the press conference, Rep. Bloom and Sen. Browne have introduced resolutions recognizing February 11th as PA 2-1-1 Day.  We anticipate these resolutions to be voted on next week. 

UWP put together some  materials for membership to help us celebrate this day.  On our members' only site, you will find a PA 2-1-1 Day press release that can be customized to your local community, talking points to highlight with any media contacts, and social media messaging.  Please utilize these resources to bring more awareness to 2-1-1 on February 11th.  If you have any questions about the materials, please reach out to Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org). 

We are looking forward to celebrating PA 2-1-1 Day with you! 

UWP's Hill Day on March 21st- Register Now! 

UWP will be hosting a legislative Hill Day on Tuesday, March 21st to give our membership, board members, public policy committees and United Way volunteers the opportunity to get in front of state legislators and advocate on behalf of issues important to the United Way network.
Registration for the event is now open and we hope to have a good group of supporters advocating with us!  You can register for the event, and read more details about the schedule of events  here.  

Please note- the registration will only be open until Friday, February 24th.  This deadline is to allow UWP time to get meetings scheduled.  So, if you plan to attend PLEASE REGISTER BY THE DEADLINE

Prior to our Hill Day, UWP will be hosting a webinar training on the materials and priorities that will be discussed in legislative meetings. More information will be circulated on this training closer to the Hill Day, but please be prepared to attend, as this will be the only issue training prior to the event.  

It is our hope we will have a strong showing of United Way representatives for the event.  You are encouraged to invite your boards, public policy committees, staff, and volunteers. UWP members should have received an email with a list of legislators we will be visiting and other important information for the day, including the schedule of events and hotel options in Harrisburg. If you need this information, please email Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org ). 

House introduces bill to expand the Educational Improvement Tax Credit 
House Bill 250 was recently introduced by Speaker Mike Turzai, which will expand PA's education tax credit program. This legislation will increase the amount of tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million, bringing the total amount of credits available to $175 million.  Additionally, the legislation will increase the amount of tax credits available under the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program by $25 million. Supporters hope to grow opportunities for parents to exercise school choice and help students who may be attending a failing school. 

We will continue to monitor this legislation and update membership on any movement of the bill.
Senate committee votes to limit some public employee payroll deductions but protects charitable contributions
The PA Senate State Government committee voted for two proposals this week which would affect payroll deductions by public employees. The bills were reported from committee on a party-line vote. 

SB 166 and SB 167  continue efforts from previous sessions to prevent public employee payroll systems from being used to deduct funds which are used for political activity. One of these bills changes state law, and the other would amend the constitution to effectuate the change. However, both bills include specific language which protect the ability of public employees to make charitable contributions via payroll deduction. 

This legislation has also been nick-named "paycheck protection" legislation by supporters. Public employee labor unions strongly oppose the bill, saying that it singles out public employees in an attempt to slience their participation in the legislative process. Supporters argue that public employee payroll systems should not be used to support political causes. 

United Way of Pennsylvania does not have a position on these bills but would oppose any effort to limit charitable contributions by public employees via payroll deduction. 
2017 United Way Worldwide Membership Requirements

United Way Worldwide mailed membership packets to member organizations on Monday, January 30. The packets include everything local United Ways need to complete the annual membership requirements, including guidance on the license agreement, changes to the self-assessment requirement, and the 2017 membership benefits brochure. Membership certifications will again be collected via DocuSign. 

A pre-recorded webinar is available on United Way online to review the 2017 membership requirements. The membership materials are also available on United Way online. 

United Way rolls out new branding standards
UWW rolled out new branding standards and guidelines earlier this week.  They have been developing these new standards over a period of several months and have made some significant changes.

Some of the changes that were made include the brandmark and its use on social media, font choices for materials, the color palettes used for United Way logos and marketing materials, the brand tone and stylistic use of U in United, and the use of photography in respect to using black and white photos and color photos.
 
This is just a brief overview of the changed brand standards and guidelines.  The comprehensive document further explaining these changes can be found on UWP's members' only site, here.  If you have any questions on these changes, you will need to contact the UWW helpdesk.