United Way of Pennsylvania
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UWP Update - March 17, 2017
We are excited to have 13 local United Ways and volunteers from UWP's Board join staff at the Capitol to advocate for 2-1-1, high quality Pre-K and an on-time state 2017-2018 state budget. If you can't make it to Harrisburg, read below to find out how you and your Board can amplify the message from home. 
Participate in UWP's Hill Day virtually 

UWP's Hill Day will be taking place next Tuesday, March 21st.  We have a full day of meetings and a lot of great issues to talk about!

For those who are unable to attend, but would still like to participate, we have a couple ways for you to get involved with our advocacy asks.  We have created some social media messaging that can be accessed on our members' only site, here.  The social media messaging focuses on PA 2-1-1 and Pre-k funding.  Also included are some graphics for your use.  It would be great if you can schedule some of these messages to go out on Tuesday to coincide with our meetings.  The more action we get from membership, the better our Hill Day will turn out. 

In addition to our social media messaging, we will have an action alert sent to you early Tuesday morning.  We are asking for this action alert to be sent to your local House and Senate members.  This alert will again, focus on PA 2-1-1 and Pre-k funding.  One advantage of the action alert is being able to add some comments about what your local UW is working on in regard to these topics.  Explaining some of the pre-k work you are doing or any specialty programs your 2-1-1 is working on would be helpful putting these issues into context for legislators.  I encourage you to add some additional information on these topics. 

We are looking forward to our Hill Day and bringing more awareness to our policy priorities. Please help us advocate for these important issues and participate in our Hill Day virtually!

PA House committee will vote on budget impasse legislation - UWP supports
 
The House Human Services committee will vote on HB 398 on Wednesday, March 22. UWP supports this legislation, which would require the state to continue to fund many essential services at the prior year's level in the event of a budget impasse. 

The bill is sponsored by Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Buck). You can view a list of committee members  here UWP sent a letter of support to all committee members, and we will be discussing our support during Hill Day visits with members of the committee.   United Ways who have representatives on this committee are welcome to call or email their offices and express your support as well. If you have questions, please contact Kristen or Maggie. 

Trump's first federal budget outline includes cuts that impact human services
 
President Trump released a budget blueprint this week, known as the "skinny budget" which articulates general guidelines for his first spending plan. His goal is to cut $1.1 trillion in domestic discretionary spending in order to increase defense spending by $52.3 billion. 

Among the cuts: 
  • Elimination of the LIHEAP Program
  • Elimination of the Community Service Block Grant. In PA, these dollars are used for case management, job training, food, housing, drug and alcohol counseling and economic development. 
  • Elimination of the Community Development Block Grant. In PA, these funds are used for a variety of community development and anti-poverty programs including housing rehabilitation. While the largest portion of state funds are used for things like sewer systems and sidewalk improvements, local communities also get funding that is used for a variety of purposes. Find out how your community's local CDBG funds are expended here
The Trump budget outline also includes an additional $500 million for addressing the opioid crisis impacting much of the country. 

Congressional hearings are expected on the skinny budget, while the administration will continue developing its complete revenue and spending plan to be presented in May. We will provide updates and opportunities to engage in advocacy that aligns with UWW and UWP priorities. Members are invited to contact staff and share information about how these cuts will impact your local community. 

PA House votes to expand the Education Improvement Tax Credit
 
The House passed HB 250 this week, which increases the total available tax credits from $125 million to $175 million. UWP does not have a position on this bill, but because several local United Ways serve as scholarship organizations, we are providing updates to our membership regarding this bill. It passed on a strong, bi-partisan vote of 147-39. 

Part of the Governor's budget proposal included cutting $100 million from a suite of tax credits that are currently available to businesses. The total available for all the credits, ranging from EITC to new business and industry-specific credits, would decrease to $275 million. The remaining tax credit dollars are proposed to be block granted, which raised major objections from members of the General Assembly. 

The EITC is one of many issues that will need to be negotiated in the context of the budget. 

Wolf administration sets record straight regarding changes to county assistance offices
 
DHS Secretary Ted Dalls issued a communication to make sure Pennsylvanians have an accurate understanding of proposed changes to the state's County Assistance Office (CAO) structure. The Governor's budget proposal would change the commonwealth's CAOs by consolidating some back office functions into regional processing centers. Face-to-face customer interactions will remain intact, and there will still be a CAO in each of PA's 57 counties. 

Five processing centers would be created in this new structure. Their locations have not been determined, but there is a goal to have two processing centers up and running by June 30, 2018. 

State unemployment rate improves in January

PA's unemployment rate improved in January by .2 percent.  The state Department of Labor and Industry reported January's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, compared to December's 5.4 percent. However, PA still remains higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 4.8 percent in January.  Additionally, much of the reported drop in unemployment has to do with individuals dropping out of the state's workforce. 

PA's civilian labor force increased by 8,000 individuals compared to January 2016. Additionally, nonfarm jobs grew by 15,300, compared to December 2016. Construction jobs added 5,900 jobs. Those sectors that experience job drops in January included the government, financial activities, and information.  

UWP Conference Registration Opens Monday, March 20

UWP's annual conference registration will be opening Monday, March 20th!  Our conference will be taking place on June 21-23 at the  Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort , located in the Poconos.  This location is a change, and we are aware it may be a bit of travel for some members, but we have decided to rotate the conference each year across the state.  

To take a look at the draft agenda please  click here .  As more of our agenda is developed we will continue to keep you updated. 
For the 2017 conference, UWP hopes our members, board members, and staff, as well as United Ways or United Funds who are not UWP members will take advantage of this opportunity to learn, share, and network with their colleagues.  We will also again be opening up our annual conference to neighboring states who do not have the opportunity to participate in their own statewide conference.  

To register, please go to www.uwp.org, click on "upcoming events" under the the banner picture, and then click on the link for the June conference. Payment can be issued via Paypal or check. Flex credits can be used for local United Way staff and their board chair to attend this meeting. 
Earlybird discount for UWW Community Leaders Conference expires April 4

The United Way Community Leaders Conference takes place in Orlando, FL on May 10-12, 2017. The earlybird registration rate is only good through April 4, so get your registration in now!

United Ways also have the opportunity to participate in the 2-1-1 summit on May 9 in Orlando. Find out more about that agenda here

Currently, ten Pennsylvania United Ways and United Way of PA are registered to be represented in Orlando for networking and learning with their colleagues across the country. 

Please use this link to register. 
United Ways invited to register for the United Way of York's 2017 Truancy Summit
The United Way of York County's Truancy Summit registration is now open! The Truancy Summit will take place on Thursday, May 25th from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., at the York College of Pennsylvania. 

The mission of the York County Truancy Prevention Initiative is to reduce the truant population in York County by establishing a protocol for improved communication, instituting a consistent response to the issues and initiating interventions.  The 2017 Truancy Summit will address these issues, as well as community collaboration and identifying appropriate resources.  

To learn more about the Truancy Summit sessions and to register, please click here.
Promote your United Way's work in the public UWP E-letter
UWP has been circulating our e-letter monthly and we need some help from members to keep this going! 

We need submissions from our membership on agencies, volunteers, and board members you would like to highlight and thank for their hard work in your communities.  Unless we start getting more submissions, we may need to reevaluate this communication.  Please keep in mind this e-letter is a great way to get some coverage with your state legislators, as it is sent to them and their staff.  If you would like to make a submission please email Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org)