United Way of Pennsylvania
UWP Update - November 10, 2017

Advocate to protect charitable giving and working Pennsylvanians in federal tax reform discussions

The U.S. House has released its plan for federal tax reform, and United Way believes the proposal should do more to make sure all Americans benefit from the charitable giving deduction. This is also a prime opportunity for Congress to strengthen tax credits which benefit low and middle income workers by expanding eligibility and increasing the cap for EITC, as well as improving the Child Tax Credit to benefit the poorest families. We encourage you to read more below, and take action.

Under the House proposal, the charitable giving deduction will be accessed by 28 million fewer Americans, because the standard deduction increase means they will no longer itemize expenses. In order to protect the bedrock American value of charitable giving, and protect the nonprofit sector from donation loss which will greatly reduce its capacity to partner with government on solutions to community issues, United Way advocates for the charitable deduction to be moved above the line so all taxpayers benefit, regardless of whether they itemize.

The House proposal retains the Earned Income Tax Credit, but can do more to help 7.5 million people who are currently taxed into poverty because they can't access the EITC. This includes people who are ages 21 to 25, and workers who are not raising children at home. By expanding the EITC to these groups, and increasing the cap on the credit for workers not raising children at home, our representatives would help 554,000 Pennsylvanians. This includes 30,000 military members/ veterans, 166,000 young workers and 61,000 rural workers.

Finally, the Child Tax Credit is modified in the House proposal to benefit middle and upper income families by increasing the credit per child, doubling the income cap at which the credit phases out,  and indexing for inflation. United Way supports additional changes which will benefit the poorest families on our state. This includes counting the first dollars earned for the Child Tax Credit (currently the first $3000 don't count) and increasing how quickly taxpayers are eligible for higher credits.

Here is a letter you can sign and send about the charitable giving deduction, and here is another letter about the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. United Ways know how powerful these tax policies are to support their work and to benefit local workers who are taxed into poverty without the EITC and CTC. Please make your voice heard, and give your volunteer leaders the opportunity to engage in tax reform advocacy as well!

Finally, check out the other article in this newsletter for links to a recent webinar about tax reform, and resources to support education and advocacy about tax reform in your community. We will update members upon release of the Senate proposal, and keep everyone apprised of developments as Republicans set their sights on completing tax reform before Christmas. 
Labor relationship survey reminder

UWP is working with the AFL-CIO to further the relationship between PA United Ways and labor.   To gain more insight into how UWs are currently working with labor we sent out a survey to our membership, which came from Rick Bloomingdale at PA AFL-CIO.  If you have not already completed this survey we encourage you to do so by the deadline of November 22nd.   You can access the survey here.  Again, this is beneficial in furthering our work with labor partnerships throughout the state and identifying areas we need to strengthen.  We look forward to sharing the results of our survey with membership and presenting more opportunities to engage with labor in your communities.  
United Way and Salesforce announce Philanthropy Cloud at international software conference

United Way and Salesforce announced a new partnership for a digital philanthropic platform that will empower companies and individual employees, and drive future community engagement. Many inside of the United Way network have heard this referred to as "Project Rubicon". 

In a statement, Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, said the following in a statement to the network this week: "Over the years, we have witnessed the evolution of philanthropy, and we have continuously evolved as we transitioned from a fundraising federation to a social-change organization of committed community problem solvers. Due in part to technological advancements, improved access to information, increased competition and demographic shifts, the expectations of our donors and corporate partners have also changed. To continue meeting their giving and community needs, we must innovate at scale. That's why in 2015, we engaged Salesforce.org to explore a digital lynchpin for support and solutions, and in August of this year, officially confirmed our partnership. The result-Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud."

"The Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud will enable us to meet the needs of our audiences in real time, while affording them an outlet for scalable, philanthropic-based employee engagement. Companies will have visibility into all the good their employees are doing in one place, can track volunteer hours, set annual giving goals, organize community activities and assess total impact. And individuals, through a personalized interface, can engage in causes, host fundraisers, connect with change makers, organize volunteers and track the impact of their efforts throughout their lifetime of giving. It will be easy, intuitive and game-changing."

"Together with Salesforce.org, we are striving to make philanthropy a daily habit by offering a one-swipe solution for social change. This is where corporate social responsibility and personal social responsibility intersect. This is future-defining, personalized and community impact. This is United Way at its best."

The formal product name will be shared after trademark approval is granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

United Ways can access the Frequently Asked Questions with their United Way online login. 
United Way of Southwestern PA and the Wolf Administration create app to help students with disabilities find jobs 

This week, the PA Department of Labor & Industry and United Way of Southwestern PA announced the launch of a new app to help students with disabilities transition from high school to employment.  The app, PA Planning for the Future Checklist, was created to help these students find jobs that pay and will work on both iOS and Android applications.  The app consists of various steps and tips to prepare students with disabilities from age 14-21 for adulthood.  It was created through a partnership between United Way's 21 and Able initiative, the PA Training and Technical Assistance Network, the PA Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education, and the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
You can download the app here.  
Wolf administration visits United Way of Lancaster County for media event to launch LIHEAP

On November 1, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Teresa Miller, and Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osbourne, traveled to the offices of United Way of Lancaster County to host a media event to bring attention the beginning of the availability of LIHEAP heating assistance. Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown also participated in the event. 

The media release is available here 

UWP Resources from federal tax reform webinar

On Wednesday, November 8, UWP put on a webinar on the topic of federal tax reform, with emphasis on the recently released plan by the House Ways and Means Committee.  There was specific information shared on the impacts to PA, and advocacy engagement strategies our membership can use to contact their congressional representatives. 

You can review the recording of the webinar on UWP's members only site here.  You will also find infographics, PA stories on the EITC and VITA program, as well as PA factsheets to use here.  

If you do not have access to the members' only site and would like to gain it, please contact Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org).  

CHIP Update

This past week the House passed legislation that would extend federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, better known as CHIP, for five years. The legislation passed along party lines and was sent to the Senate, who has already stated they will not be taking up the bill due to offsets being included.  Democrats in the House criticized the measure because it would cut the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund, as well as shorten the health care law's grace period for missed premium payments before enrollees would lost their insurance. 

Additionally, they found fault with an offset to boost costs for wealthier seniors on Medicare.  The legislation does retain the ACA's boost in the federal match rate for CHIP for two years, before it would being to wind down in 2020. 

In comparison to the House bill, the Senate legislation has broad bipartisan support and is the likely bill to move.  The downfall with the Senate proposal is the unwillingness of the chamber to move the bill without attaching it to a supplemental spending bill.  This could delay the vote on CHIP reauthorization until late November, or even into December.  Therefore, it is still vital for you to reach out to Senator Casey and Senator Toomey to urge them for a quick reauthorization.  You can visit UWW's CHIP reauthorization hub here for messages and other action items.  UWP also circulated a state-specific CHIP letter to our membership and board.  We encourage all our members to circulate this letter to community partners, their boards, and others who may be interested in signing on.  For more information on the letter, please contact Maggie ( maggie@uwp.org).  

Meltwater- PR and marketing platform opportunity

UWP recently contracted with Meltwater, which is a site that monitors various news and social media, as well as compiles analytics, on specific keywords and companies of interest.  This is a well-known site used by thousands of companies worldwide, including Google, Nike, and many others.  

Meltwater is a great resource to see where your PR and marketing efforts have been picked up, whether that be locally, statewide, or even on a global level.  Additionally, the site allows you to quickly connect with various reporters to get your press releases and other media releases out quickly.  

UWP is in a unique position to offer a few of our UW members the opportunity to join on Meltwater platform.  We have a limited number of licenses, so it will be a first come, first serve basis.  Check out what Meltwater can offer here and contact Maggie (Maggie@uwp.org) if you are interested in learning more and checking our UWPs user platform.  

First four months of the fiscal year end with PA state government in a decent financial position 

Although the state budget was only completed within the last week or so, a full four months of the state's fiscal year is already behind us. Because this year's budget is largely funded by borrowing and other one-time fixes, and Pennsylvania has a gubernatorial election year ahead of us in 2018, everyone should cross their fingers for state revenues to stay on track. 

Fortunately, the first four months of the year show that so far, revenues are tracking expectations, at least by the Independent Fiscal Office's estimates. The Governor's official revenue estimates are not available yet.  

Through the first four months, revenue totals were $9.1 million, or one-tenth of a percent below the Independent Fiscal Office's expectations. Tax revenues performed slightly weaker than expected, while non-tax revenues exceed expectations. This is due to sales and use tax and personal income tax revenues performing better than last year, but weaker performance in the Corporate Net Income Tax so far this year.

To put all of this into perspective, at this time last year, the state was already $182 million short of official state revenue estimates.