Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Budget Update August 18, 2009

Capitolwire: Senate to vote Wednesday on $2.1 billion in budget veto overrides.

By Peter L. DeCoursey
Bureau Chief

HARRISBURG (Aug. 18) – Senate Republican leaders said today they will vote tomorrow to add more than $2.1 billion in state spending to the budget by overriding up to 16 of Gov. Ed Rendell’s line item vetoes in the current state “bridge” budget.

That plan emerged even as both sides said progress had been made in budget talks but the sides are still about $1 billion apart. Senate Republicans still are saying their top spending offer is $27.6 billion. Recent House Democratic and gubernatorial proposals add up to $28.6 billion, in terms of programs contained in last year’s budget.

Both sides said table games and a potential cigarette tax hike were part of the revenue discussions, but that another billion dollars of combined cuts or revenues separated the negotiators and prolonged the budget impasse.

That was the background as the Senate announced it would try to restore state funding for most of the programs Rendell blue-lined earlier this month and highlighted in a series of events the last two weeks.

“The governor vetoed a lot of services that people need now,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre. “So we feel let’s get the [bridge budget-contained] numbers out to people now, particularly the ones where the Senate and governor agreed. And then where there are differences, we can negotiate about them later, without closing the doors on vital services.”

House Democrats could not immediately be reached for comment on the Senate GOP plan. As late as Monday, both sides said leaders had continued meeting and that progress was being made.

But the planned veto overrides could shift the pressure to keep open day-care centers, run children's health care programs and provide college loans to House Democrats. They will now either have to override Rendell's vetos as well, or explain why they will not.

Up until today, Rendell has blamed Senate Republicans for not agreeing to his higher budget spending figures. Now the Senate GOP and House GOP will pressure the House Democrats to schedule a line-item veto vote.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson said: “The governor wants a crisis atmosphere to give himself leverage in the budget negotiations – he said so directly, when he vetoed those programs. The votes on Wednesday to override his vetos will be the first step in ensuring that vital state programs are not shut down while the overall budget negotiations continue.”

House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin said the actions of Senate Republicans would shift the blame for the funding delays away from their party.

"If the Senate has the vote to override some of these controversial vetoes, then any Democrat who does not vote to override them becomes the face of those cuts and the target of everyone losing those services," Miskin said. "Right now there's only one person respon for blue-lining budget lines and depriving people of vital services. If the Senate does this, and the House does not follow, the House Democrats will join the governor in that dubious distinction."

The list of overrides is expected to include 11 items where Senate Bill 850 contained the amount of funding the governor originally sought, but blue-lined the programs anyway. [CMC1]

That list includes:

• State assistance to drug and alcohol programs, $41.8 million;

• Homeless assistance, $25.6 million;

• State food purchase, for food banks $18 million;

• Domestic Violence prevention funding, $12.5 million

• Customized job training, $9 million;

• Rape crisis programs, $7.1 million;

• Veteran’s Educational Assistance, $8 million;

• Just under $5 million combined for farmer’s market coupons, veterans outreach services, veteran’s assistance and disabled veterans transportation.

A second list of proposed veto overrides are for programs where the Senate proposed less than the governor and legislative Democrats are willing to accept in state spending.[CMC2]

Senate Republicans expect to vote to override the governor’s vetos of the following line items:

• County child welfare, $1.04 billion;

• Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, $386 million;

• Child care assistance and child care services in the welfare budget, $358 million; [CMC3]

• Children’s Health Insurance Program, $86.9 million;

• Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, $9.9 million.

Corman noted that adding $2.1 billion to the $12.8 billion "bridge" budget meant the state could afford the additional spending easily, and noted that "the governor still has $12 billion worth of leverage, and we know how important his leverage is to him."

Monday, August 3, 2009

childcare budget update aug 3, 2009

[CEG] Budget update- vote no to Kotick amendment

As you know, the Governor has asked the House to vote yes to SB 850 and send it to him for signature, where he will blueline about 90% of the budget to allow state workers to get paid but continue budget talks.

Rep. Nick Kotick (D-Allegheny) has put forth a $27.5 billion budget amendment for SB850 that mirrors the Civera amendment for early education (fully funds Head Start Supplemental but maintains cuts to PA Pre-K Counts and child care) and adds in a few more items without a PIT increase. Rep. Sam Smith said House Republicans worked with a handful of Blue Dogs, with input from the Senate Republicans, to put together their latest proposal.

The concern (not sure how likely this is) is that this amendment could pass the House and Senate and have the votes to override any Governor veto. Even if there are not enough votes to push this amendment through, it will delay the final negotiations yet again.

Because the amendment was filed late, there would need to be a 2/3 majority vote in the House to suspend the rules to allow the amendment to be voted on.

Please tell your representative to vote no to the Kotick amendment:

• The Kotick amendment is devastating for children and families in Pennsylvania. Approximately 15,000 children would lose early education services, and nearly 2,000 early education jobs would be lost. We're seeing the impact of these cuts right now, with early learning programs starting to shut down and PA Pre-K Counts programs unable to begin preparations for the fall. Parents need these services to work and our children need these services to become our future workforce.

• The Kotick amendment will only delay final budget negotiations. The early education field and other services dependent on state funds are already beginning to shut down, impacting jobs and our economy. It is time for a real negotiation.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

President Obama acknowleges Pennsylvania

Yesterday the President gave a speech to the NAACP and used that opportunity to plug the new proposal for the ECE challenge grants that we discussed at Leadership Team, in brief. You will be very pleased to read that PA is the only state mentioned as a model for the federal proposal:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Updates regarding the budget for ECE

Since last Wednesday, nearly every legislative caucus and Governor Rendell have held press conferences regarding the budget negotiations. All sides are trying to put pressure on the others to come to a budget resolution before July 17, when state employees begin receiving "payless paychecks."

The Governor specifically addressed in his press conference on Monday, 7/13, how SB850 and the House Republican Amendment hurts children dramatically. "Are we going to be the type of place that neglects our children and sacrifices their success?"

As of Monday night, the House Appropriations Committee moved two budget bills to the House floor:

• HB 1416 with amendment - this bill starts with the Governor's February budget proposal and moves $1.2 billion of higher education line items out of the general fund budget and creates a new Higher Education Fund which would be funded through a tax increase (the type of tax wasn't specified). The amendment also cut $500 million from the Governor's February proposal.
o PA Pre-K Counts is cut to $80 million and 800 children will lose services.
o All other ECE lines are kept at the level requested by Governor Rendell.
• SB 850 - The original senate proposal was sent to the House floor (without the House Republican amendment) with "negative recommendation."

Attached is an updated chart of allocations and impact of the two bills before the House. We are not sure when these bills will go up for a vote at this point, but will keep you updated.

As you know, SB850 would cut nearly 20,000 children from early education services, resulting in at least 2,000 job cuts:

Program Children without services Possible jobs lost*
PA Pre-K Counts 6,000 762
Child Care Works 7,700 837
NFP 850 35
PCHP 165 18

Head Start Supplemental 2,800 390
Total 17,515 2007

Program Children without services Possible jobs lost*
PA Pre-K Counts kids: 6,000 jobs: 762
Child Care Works kids: 7,700 jobs: 837
NFP kids: 850 jobs: 35
PCHP kids: 165 jobs: 18
Head Start
Supplemental kids: 2,800 jobs: 390

TOTAL kids: 17,515 jobs: 2,007

*This is based on jobs providing direct services to children (teacher, teacher aide, nurse), does not include other jobs that may be affected if programs are downsized.


Contact your state representatives and urge them to vote NO TO BOTH HB 1416 and to SB850. You can find your representatives at or use our PA Promise email at

• Both bills cut services for children to unacceptable levels. Although HB 1416 does protect many early education programs, it cuts nearly 1,000 children from PA Pre-K Counts
• SB 850 is an irresponsible budget that would cut nearly 20,000 children from early education services, cut at least 2,000 early education jobs directly, cause working parents to struggle to find less reliable care or lose their jobs as well.
• Early education programs such as PA Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS, Child Care Works, Early Intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership and Head Start Supplemental are helping working parents keep their jobs and supporting economic recovery now, and prepare our young children for success in school and in the workforce in the future. Early education should be a high priority in the state budget.
• We can do better for our children.
• I support raising revenue to protect vital programs for Pennsylvanians.

2008-2009 Community Report Card

Early Care and Education Initiative: Report to the Community

Our Mission: Mission: To educate, assist and involve Clinton County families, businesses and communities in understanding and valuing the important role quality early care and education plays in determining future success.
Our Vision: High Quality Early Care and Education is a valued priority
There are 2,055 children from birth to age five living in Clinton County. Children are at High Risk of school failure in Clinton County. 30.4% of children under the age of 5 participated in publicly funded quality early education programs
Risk Factors affecting Children’s Success in School: Family & Community factors affect how well young children, learn, leaving our at-risk children behind. Research has shown that children affected by risk f actors such as poverty, family status, or poor school system, are more likely to enter school behind their peers, struggle in school or drop out altogether. Risk factors like those are listed below can hurt a child’s chances of doing well in school.
In Clinton County:
• 52% of children under the age of 5 live in low income families
• 21.3% of births are to mothers with less than a high school education
• 35% of 3rd graders scored below proficient on the 2008 PSSA reading test
Research has shown that at-risk children who receive quality early education can catch up to their peers before kindergarten.
How many children were served?
• 94 served by the Early Intervention Program
• 102 special needs children served at the Infant Development Program
• 20 autistic children served in special programs
• 97 children served by Head Start
• 42 children served by PA Pre-K Counts
• 750 children enrolled in licensed daycare/preschool programs
Our Outreach Events: Fall Family Festival, Children’s Festival, Clinton County Expo, Community Fair at Hoberman Park, LHU health fair, School Open Houses, Legislative Brunch, Business Breakfast, PA One Book, Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, Maintain Community Engagement Website (added a podcast feature), Kindergarten registration information, Family nights at local elementary schools and Head Start/PA Pre K Counts recruiting and enrollment
This website is designed to assist the early care and education community and parents on finding the most up to date information on emerging issues related to early education. There is statistically information about the county and our risk to our children, as well as CEG meeting minutes, upcoming professional development opportunities for educators and families. There is also a podcast feature in which participants can listen to up to date information on upcoming events. A childcare blog is also being developed and linked to the website in which families and providers and exchange ideas and suggestions.

For more information about the CEG, please contact Laurie Welch at 570-726-0022 or

2007-2008 Community Report Card

The Clinton County Early Care and Education Initiative
2007-2008 Community Report Card

Vision Statement: High quality early care and education is a valued priority

Mission: To educate, assist and involve Clinton County families, businesses and communities in understanding and valuing the important role quality early care and education plays in determining future success.

• To increase understanding of the importance of quality early care and education
• To educate the public to the true cost of quality early care and education
• To give the community tools to identify and select quality early care and education
• To increase awareness of the impact of early care and educational issues upon the business community

Did you know?
• In the US, an estimated 6 million children under the age of 3 spend some or all of their day being cared for by someone other than a member of their immediate family
• In Clinton County, there are over 2,000 kids under the age of 5 years old.
• There are over 4,440 children under the age of 14 living in Clinton County and only 750 registered child care spots in 2008?
• The Infant Development Program is not a day care, but provided services to 95 children special services and pre-school and added a classroom and 13 children with autism.
• The Lycoming-Clinton Early Intervention program provided services to 79 families.
• The Ross Library provided literacy programs to 4500 residents.
• Over 50% of licensed providers are enrolled in the Keystone Stars program

What has the Clinton County Early Care and Education Initiative done to address these issues in 2007-2008?
• Provided free school readiness information for parents of children enrolling in Kindergarten in the Keystone Central School District, the Lock Haven Catholic and Christian Schools and the Charter School.
• Staffed an educational display at the Children’s Festival in which @1,000 children and families attended last year
• Developed an educational display at the Clinton County Expo in which @9,000 residents attended
• Provided resources for Licensed childcare providers for Child Care Provider Appreciation Day in May
• Accepted a proclamation from the Clinton County Commissioner acknowledging Childcare Provider Appreciation Day
• Developed and distributed an updated listing of all licensed providers in the county
• Sponsored educational radio advertisements on how to choose quality childcare and promote Keystone Stars, PA Promise for Children and Pre K Counts Initiative

• Collaborated with the Local Interagency Coordinating Council to host a variety workshops to educate providers and families new early care issues
• Develop and maintain a website that provide early care and education information (
• Worked with the Lock Haven downtown Manager and the Clinton County Economic Partnership to educate the business community on early care and education issues by hosting a business forum
• Enhance the Early Care and Education Lending Library at Clinton County Cooperative Extension and the Ross Library and their branch libraries
• Tested and updated in collaboration with Emergency Management and local childcare providers an emergency notification phone chain
• The Chair of the planning team maintains the status of a certified child care training through the PA Pathways Training System
• Worked in collaboration with Penn State Cooperative Extension and licensed child care provide to increase professional development opportunities for requirements for the Keystone Stars program from special funding from the Central Regional Key
• Met with local legislators to gather support for early care initiatives
• Coordinated the PA One Book Initiative in Clinton County
• Serves on the advisory committee for the Pa Pre K Counts Initiative
• Worked with local childcare providers and the school district to host a school transition experience for children ready to enter kindergarten
• Conducted a county-wide school readiness survey with parents of pre-schoolers, pre-school and Kindergarten teachers
• Promoted Keystone Stars, PA Pre K Counts and PA Promise for Children in the Clinton County Community

Benefits to Quality Care and Education:
• Research indicates the skills learned in the first five years of life are critical to future school success
• For every $1 invested in quality early childhood programs, there is a long-term benefit of $17 in public savings by increasing the likelihood that children will stay in school and become employed
• Children demonstrate greater social skills as pre-schoolers, kindergarten and primary grades
• Children show greater motivation for learning and commitment to school and have better school attendance rates
• Demonstrate better classroom behavior and have better relations with teachers and classmates
• Parents who have access to quality childcare are more likely to maintain steady employment, contribute to the community and become productive workers and community members

For more information: Contact Laurie Welch at 570-726-0022 or visit