United Way of Pennsylvania
UWP Update - July 7, 2017

PA has a $32B spending plan which includes a first-time investment in 2-1-1, but still looking for agreement on revenue to pay for it 
As we reported in a special email update to members last Friday, the spending plan was adopted by the end of the day June 30. There was significant bi-partisan support for the plan as it passed the Senate by a vote of 43-7 and in the House by a vote of 173-27. The House is returning to session today (Friday) and the Senate is returning Saturday, with the Governor's deadline for action on the spending plan looming on Monday, July 10. 

No consensus seems to have emerged on how to achieve about $2 billion in additional revenue which will be needed to balance the budget. Sources rumored to be on the table for discussion include borrowing against the Tobacco Settlement Fund, gambling expansion and some expansion of the sales tax base.  If the General Assembly does not deliver a revenue package to balance the budget by Monday, the Governor can either let the spending plan lapse into law without his signature as he did last year, or he can exercise a full veto or a line item veto to bring the spending plan into balance. Credit rating agencies began issuing warnings this week about a likely downgrade based on Pennsylvania's "eroding financial position" and the perceived likelihood that the budget will not be structurally balanced. S&P also warned it would downgrade the rating if the budget relies on one-time solutions to raise money.  

The headliner for United Ways in this budget is a first-ever state investment in PA 2-1-1. The money will be used to assure 24/7 service throughout the state, expand omnichannel access to the resource database through text, chat, mobile application and web site, to support regional 2-1-1 providers in meeting quality assurance standards in the national 2-1-1 scorecard, as well as for statewide coordination of the service.
To wrap up 2-1-1 funding, either HB 2-1-1 will be finalized by the Senate and sent to the Governor's desk, or identical language will be included in the Welfare Code bill that must be finalized to implement the budget. The funding is embedded in the Department of Human Services General Government Operations line. UWP released a press statement last week thanking legislators for their broad, bi-partisan support 2-1-1, with special recognition to the lead sponsors on our legislation, Senator Browne and Representative Bloom. They have worked with UWP each of the last two years to advance PA 2-1-1. It was Senator Browne's leadership as the Appropriations Committee chair who secured a placeholder for the first $750,000 2-1-1 is guaranteed to receive in this budget. UWP advocated for $1.5 million and we hope to learn the final funded amount for 2-1-1 in the near future.  
Pennsylvania kids also were winners in this budget. Elected officials made an increased investment of $30 million to help thousands more children gain access to 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. UWP supported the work of the Pre-K for PA coalition to advocate for an increase. We also signed on to letters urging restoration of proposed cuts to child care programs as about half of publicly funded, high-quality pre-k is delivered in child care programs. If the child care system becomes less stable, the ability to scale pre-k will be compromised. The FY 2016-2017 cut of $20  million to child care services will be restored in this budget.
Human services are essentially flat-funded at FY 2016-2017 levels, with the exception of an increase for Intellectual Disability services. Proposed cuts to the Human Service Development Fund and the Homeless Assistance Program were restored. There is an increase in the Behavioral Health Services Initiative (which funds both mental health and drug and alcohol programs). Mental health base funding will be level as a result of an increase in the available federal dollars. These dollars are used by counties to fund community-based services and the line item also funds the state hospital system. Early intervention funding has been increased by four percent.
The budget bill authorizes Department of Human Services to combine funding sources with other state agencies only upon approval of a Department merger by the General Assembly. Reports indicate the Governor will win half of his request to unify four state agencies. Department of Human Services and Department of Health will likely merge, with Department of Aging and Department of Drug and Alcohol remaining separate. 

Annual Conference evaluation survey and flex credits 
As a reminder for those who attended UWP's Annual Conference a few weeks ago, we have the evaluation survey available.  Please take a few minutes to complete this survey, as it is helpful to our future planning. The link to the survey is below: 

Also, if you were in attendance and planned on using flex credits, please be on the lookout for an email from Valerie McDonald, from UWW, with the reimbursement form to fill out.  This form should be sent to conference attendees this week or early next week.  If for whatever reason you do not receive an email from Valerie, please contact Lois ( lois@uwp.org)
United Way Worldwide Releases Statement on US Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act

A couple of weeks ago, the Senate released their version of a healthcare plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.  UWW has provided a statement on the proposal:

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.  As such, we work with a range of parties - including business, government and community leaders - to improve all Americans' access to affordable, quality healthcare.

We are monitoring congressional action on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which, in its current form, would result in sweeping changes to our healthcare laws and impact insurance coverage for every American.  Most notably, the bill will make it more difficult for Americans to get affordable health care that allows them to lead healthy, productive lives.

Quality healthcare is critical for a child's ability to succeed in school, and for families to remain financially self-sufficient. We will continue to work with all parties who wish to come together to develop a plan that will reduce healthcare costs while not reducing coverage for working families.

Along with this statement, UWW has provided talking points to be used when speaking with congressional members.  Those talking points can be found here.  UWP will continue to monitor any healthcare developments and update members as new information becomes available.  For any specific questions, please contact Maggie (maggie@uwp.org).  
2-1-1 is helping with response to flooding in Butler, PA 

Flash flooding caused significant problems in Butler, PA, beginning on Wednesday, July 5. Clean up continues. County commissioners and emergency management officials are telling residents to call 2-1-1 for their non-emergency needs. 2-1-1 is being used as the hub for help for flooding victims as well as to collect donations from people who would like to help flooding victims with financial contributions or material goods.  

2-1-1's contribution is one element of the overall response, which includes a city declaration of emergency, a Red Cross emergency shelter, and a waiting list for fire department assistance to pump out basements. 

This exhibits a partnership which we hope can be expanded across the state for 2-1-1 to become a partner in disaster and emergency response. 

Day of Action Summary 

On June 21st, United Ways joined in a Day of Action across the world.  There were more than 30,000 volunteers and over 400 communities who participated in this great event, which just celebrated its 10th year.  While needs help to determine the projects done in communities, this year the national focus was on summer learning and nutrition.  In addition to volunteers and United Way support, there were over 53 corporate partners who joined with United Ways across the world to help make numerous Days of Action possible.