United Way of Pennsylvania
UWP Update - June 26, 2017
United Way Worldwide's US Vice President Mary Sellers speaks with UWP members at our opening conference session. We were honored to host her for her first state visit! 

Statewide 2-1-1 update 
The final budget push is upon us and UWP's 2-1-1 initiative is still alive in the mix.  Currently, SB 211 is up for third consideration in the Senate and will then move to the House for approval.  This means 2-1-1 is still in the minds of legislators and support is high for our initiative. 

We have made substantial progress, with the help of our legislative champions, to have our $1.5 million funding request for 2-1-1 included for discussion at the budget table. With that being said, a favorable outcome is not guaranteed, and our work is far from over.  It will be imperative for our membership to step-up in the coming week to urge your local House and Senate members to support PA 2-1-1 funding in the budget.  If your local legislators are already supportive of 2-1-1, now is the time to ask for a letter of funding support to go to their local leadership and Appropriations committee.  For a draft template of this letter that can be used, please contact Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org).   Additionally, if you haven't already don't so, please take the time to participate in our action alert.  You can send this to your boards, donors, and volunteers for action.  The more offices being contacted about supporting 2-1-1, the better off we will be in seeing some funding in the budget. 

Along with these advocacy asks, we will also be disseminating the 2-1-1 social media videos on our platforms.  Please take the time to like, share, and retweet these videos and messages.  You can also utilize the 2-1-1 videos on your sites.  To access the links, please click here

We will be continuously monitoring the budget and our 2-1-1 ask.  As we receive information we will be sending it out to membership, so please keep a lookout for targeted action alerts and other developments.  

Hopes riding high for a PA budget in the next week to ten days

With less than five days to go until the constitutional deadline for a new state spending plan, all eyes are on the state Capitol, where current negotiations are largely happening between the House and Senate Republican caucus, and the Governor. The quest for a balanced budget without major new revenue will be difficult, as official estimates indicate PA will be $1.2 billion short in the 2016-2017 budget. The official revenue estimate for FY 2017-2018 is $32.5 billion, which is an increase of $880 million over the current year.

The Governor put forward a budget proposal in February which spends $32.3 billion. The House Republicans passed a budget this spring which spends $31.5 billion. Discussions indicate the majority party in the House and Senate are narrowing in on a spend number which is in between the House number and $32 billion.

There are several proposals currently in play to balance the budget. Few of them represent permanent, long-term revenue. For example, there are discussions about borrowing against the state's future Tobacco Settlement Fund payments, which may have a negative impact on some health-related programs these dollars currently fund. There is a proposal to shift the state sales tax on liquor from a wholesale tax to a retail tax for an estimated $200 million. Expanded gambling is still under discussion, although with widely varying opinions on how much expansion should occur, it is a very uncertain outcome. They are also evaluating one-time transfers from special funds.

A budget by June 30 is basically impossible now, but prevailing opinion currently predicts the budget will be delivered to the Governor by the fourth of July. We do not anticipate a lengthy budget impasse which would cause interruption of payments and services.

UWP's top priorities for the budget are a first-ever state investment of $1.5 million to support and enhance 2-1-1 statewide, and to achieve an increased investment of $75 million in high quality Pre-K. We also advocate for, at minimum, no additional cuts to human services, and an on-time budget which protects recipients of human services from closures or interruptions if a budget impasse occurs. UWP's advocacy has included:
  • Continued leadership-level talks in support of 2-1-1 funding, while leading our network to gain strong bipartisan support for a statewide 2-1-1 grant program in both the House and Senate (HB 211 and SB 211)
  • Providing communication templates for local UWs, their boards and volunteers to contact local legislators in support of United Way budget priorities
  • UWP signed on to letters for more investment in high quality Pre-K, restoring cuts to child care services in the House budget, and urging the Governor to consider human services an essential service for which payments should continue to flow in the event of a protracted impasse
The consolidation of four state agencies (Aging, Drug and Alcohol, Health and Human Services) into a new Department of Health and Human Services is still on the table but facing an uncertain future. UWP supports a unification if the budget maintains sufficient funding to continue current service levels, and if it achieves objectives including streamlined licensing, organizational structure aligned to key population needs, increased coordination of physical and behavioral health care, coordinated case management and more home and community based services.  

UWP staff are monitoring the action at the Capitol all week and will continue to do so over the weekend and through the holiday as needed. We will send timely updates to members via email, so please watch for more information there. 

Annual Conference wrap-up

UWP had a fantastic annual conference last week! With over 50 attendees, 4 sponsors, and some expert speakers, the conference was three days filled with learning opportunities and team building. Thank you to all those that attended!

We will be posting the PowerPoint slides from each presentation, along with videos from certain presentations, to the members' only site this week.  Additionally, please be on the lookout for an evaluation survey from the conference.  If you attended, it would be helpful to us for you to complete the evaluation, as it helps with our planning next year.  

We look forward to the time we spend with you each year at our conference and this year was no exception! Thank you for making it a great time again!  
EFSP Phase 34 Update

The EFSP state set-aside committee received final instructions last week for the Phase 34 distribution. The committee is scheduled to hold a meeting on July 5 and we expect to be finalizing allocations to local committees by the end of July. If you have questions, please direct them to krotz@uwp.org. 
PA's unemployment reaches 5 percent in May 

Pennsylvania saw a shift in unemployment up to 5 percent in May. This increase in jobless Pennsylvanians keeps unemployment well above the national rate, which Pennsylvania has not been below since March 2016. Though this rate is startling, last month's rate is half-a-percentage point lower than this time last year. This slight increase to 5 from 4.9 appears to come from Pennsylvania's civilian labor force (those working or looking for work) as it has increased by 11,000 between April and May. The state's resident employment only increased 2,000 while the unemployment population increased by 8,000. 

There was a net loss of 4,000 jobs, primarily in the state's goods-producing industries, though half of the state's service-providing sectors also experienced net drops. Construction took the largest hit with a net loss of 4,300 jobs, followed by manufacturing that lost 2,800 jobs. Other sectors fluctuated as well: The service-providing sectors of Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-1,900), Financial Activities (-1,300) and Other Services (-1,200) were also down compared to April. The Leisure and Hospitality (3,100), Education and Health Services (2,500), Professional and Business Services (1,100) and Government (1,000) sectors posted net additions last month. 

Nationally, May's job totals are up 54,000, or 0.9 percent with a job growth rate of 1.6 percent.
UWW marketing toolkit webinar 
Do you have questions about the Campaign Marketing Toolkit? Join UWW's U.S. Network Engagement Manager, Ayanna Lewis, and UWW's Senior Director of Brand & Media Strategy, Brooke Purdo, in the 2017 Campaign Marketing Toolkit Review and Update on Wednesday, June 28th at 2pm ET. The session will last no longer than an hour.
In this webinar you will explore the customizable templates and localization tool on Studio to Go (now a free program), an update on the Campaign Marketing Toolkit, new stock photos, a status report on the editable version of UWW 2017 video (including guidance on how to produce your own), and new templates on Constant Contact. This session will also offer a refresher on how to access all of the United Way Online Materials as well as Studio to Go.

You can register for the webinar here and view the toolkit here