United Way of Pennsylvania
UWP Update - January 20, 2017
Photo from United Way of Franklin County, which hosted a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day drive to collect approximately 5000 pounds of food for local pantries and hundreds of books for local programs. 
Call U.S. Senate offices on Monday, January 23 to urge no ACA repeal without a replacement

United Way Worldwide has been following the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal very closely and have developed a United Way cohort to stay connected on this issue. UWP, along with about 75 other United Ways, participates on this cohort. The primary purpose for this cohort is stay updated on the congressional development of the repeal and to strategize on advocacy efforts around the issue. UWW is invested in this development because ACA repeal would take health coverage away from 29.8 million people nationwide by 2019. In Pennsylvania specifically, 956,000 people would lose coverage in 2019 if the ACA would be repealed.

The first advocacy strategy UWW has created is a United Way Senate National Call-In Day. The call-in day will take place on Monday, January 23. This call-in day will consist of a pre-determined script developed by UWW and we are asking United Ways and individuals to call Senator Toomey and Senator Casey's office in D.C. to discuss the ACA repeal. UWP will be sending this script out to our members in preparation for the call-in, and it is available on United Way online. UWP would like to keep track of your conversations with the Senators, so if you can please email Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org) after your conversations that would be helpful. 

Additionally, UWW has developed messaging to be used in speaking with our Governor and Congress members. This messaging was developed to explain that an appropriate replacement is necessary if there is an ACA repeal. If you are interested in this messaging please email Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org) for more information.

It is our hope the Senate Call-In Day will be successful and some PA United Ways and individuals will be able to participate. This is a very important matter to the work we are doing and our support is necessary.   

Pennsylvania legislators returning to session with property tax elimination and the impending state budget on their minds

The House and Senate will convene for their first voting session days during the week of January 23. Two major topics seem to be on the minds of legislators and outside groups: eliminating school district property taxes, and what to expect when the Governor offers his budget proposal on Tuesday, February 6. 

The plan to eliminate school property taxes relies upon a significant increase of the personal income tax, as well as an increase in the sales tax in all counties, and some expansion of the sales tax base. The bill has not been introduced yet, but it is widely rumored that it will be brought up for a vote next week. In the past, property tax elimination proposals have failed when the General Assembly did not pass sufficient revenue to offset property taxes. A recent report from the Independent Fiscal Office showed that the state needs $14.1 billion to replace the property tax revenue. The main area of interest to our income stability work is expansion of the sales tax base, which could hurt low income families if expanded to basic necessities such as food and clothing. 

Meanwhile, we are preparing for the budget debate to begin when the Governor gives his address on Tuesday, February 7. As in prior years, this will be a very difficult budget to balance, with an existing structural deficit, revenues lagging behind expectations, and several steps which need to be taken to balance the 2016-2017 budget.  

The Governor has already announced several cost-savings measures, including a freeze on hiring or filling vacant positions, closing down several state prisons as well a state mental hospital and state center for individuals with intellectual disability. He has stated that he will not propose any broad-based revenue increases, but in a recent interview said he would renew his call for a Marcellus shale severance tax. 

UWP will provide members with updates leading up to, and immediately after, the budget address. 

Study estimates job loss and coverage loss in PA as a result of ACA repeal

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center estimates that 137,000 jobs will be lost in Pennsylvania if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. This includes not only direct jobs in the healthcare field, but those that would be lost in construction and real estate, retail sales and other sectors. This would reduce the state's gross domestic product by over $75 billion, and cut state and local taxes by $2.4 billion over a five-year period.  

This report also estimates that 1.3 million Pennsylvanians will lose health insurance. The total increase in insured as a result of ACA and Medicaid expansion is estimated to be 685,000. Some of those people will be eligible for health insurance through existing state programs. Another 321,000 who purchased insurance through the exchange with some government support are categorized as likely to lose coverage. Another 91,000 who get their insurance through the Marketplace without government support and those who purchase coverage in the nongroup market are also at risk. 

The state is likely to lose $300 million in tax revenue while state expenditures for state healthcare programs would grow by $1.1 billion, increasing the structural deficit by a total of $1.4 billion. 

To read more, visit this link

Don't forget to register for 2-1-1 day press conference

As a reminder, UWP will be hosting a PA 2-1-1 Day press event on Thursday, February 9th at 10AM.  This event will be taking in the Main Rotunda, on the staircase, of the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

This press event will be used to bring more awareness to the PA 2-1-1 service available to 85% of Pennsylvanians.  UWP will be joined by Representative Stephen Bloom and Senator Pat Browne, who are our legislative champions in our effort to secure $1.5 million in State funding to support further development of the PA 2-1-1 service.  We will have a few speakers and will be inviting multiple press. 

The event is set to last for approximately 30 minutes and we hope you will be there to support us! We would like to have a good showing of United Ways at the event to show the strong support and work we have all put in to bringing 2-1-1 to Pennsylvanians. 

For planning purposes, we are asking you to register to attend the event.  We encourage you to invite your staff, board members, and volunteers.  Also, any other 2-1-1 affiliates that would like to be there to show support are welcome to attend.   We hope to see you there!   

Save the Date for Early Learning Investment Commission Economic Summit
The PA Education Learning Investment Commission annual Economic Summit will be held Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Harrisburg.  The PA ELIC's annual Economic Summit brings together more than 200 business leaders, policy makers, and community leaders to examine the latest research and policy developments in early learning.  Participants learn, network, and collaborate for smart policy investments to impact today's children and tomorrow's economy.
This year's event, entitled "The Business of Early Learning," will explore why high quality childcare is so important for the workforce of today and tomorrow, the challenges of the  childcare business model, and innovative business and policy solutions emerging from around the Commonwealth and the Country.  More information on registration will be following in the coming weeks.   

Webinar offered for United Ways to learn more about Professional Employer Organization service Insperity
UWW announced a partnership with Insperity to provide an HR solution to United Ways that wish to offer benefits for employees, in particularly health benefits. Their "sweet spot" for size of employer is those between five and 100 employees, although they work with employers of all sizes. A potential benefit of Insperity is because of their size, they can usually leverage health insurance at rates far better than what individual employers like United Ways could get on their own. This is an example of how United Way can join forces with others to be more efficient and effective. In addition to health benefits, Insperity provides HR supports to help their customers stay compliant with the increasingly complex employment laws. 

UWW has scheduled a webinar for Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The session will last for one hour and will be recorded for later viewing. Register here.  

Other resources are available on United Way online as well as Insperity's web site