As the voice in Harrisburg of Pennsylvania’s Jewish Federations and Jewish community, the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) has had a very successful year. The PJC was able to achieve the following steps forward in public social policies, agency funding, and regulation of the delivery of human services.
Terror Free Investing/Procurement/ Anti-BDS is now the law.
- Act 163 of 2016 prohibits the state of Pennsylvania from entering into a procurement contract with any company who performs a Boycott, Divestment, or Sanction (BDS) against Israel;
- Act 149 of 2014 prohibits the state of Pennsylvania from entering into a procurement contract with any company investing or operating $25 million or more in Iran’s nuclear energy sector;
- Act 44 of 2010 prohibits state investment in companies operating and investing in the oil, energy, or military sectors in Iran and Sudan;
- This comes on top of previous successes: Pennsylvania Treasurer’s Executive Order supporting Terror Free Investing and passage of Terror Free Investing within the Tobacco Settlement Investment Board.
Funded Federation and Agency Programs in an Austerity Budget
- Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program growth;
- Increased EITC credit ceiling to $125 million- OSTC credit ceiling maintained at $50 million for FY 16-17 budget;
- Supported EITC credit ceiling of $100 million – OSTC credit ceiling of $50 million for FY 13-14/ FY 14-15/ FY 15-1;
- Reinstated EITC credit ceiling to $75 million in FY 12-1;
- Assisted OSTC funding resources for Jewish programs in Pennsylvania;
- Increased ETIC credit ceiling by $8 million over expectation in FY 10-1;
- Increased EITC credit for pre-K programs by $2 million to $10m million and maintained the level of funding;
- Obtained over $300,0000 in state grants to support currently operating Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) and help develop new NORC programs throughout the Commonwealth;
- Successfully advocated for sufficient state funding for Food Pantries throughout the Commonwealth each year in the Pennsylvania State Budget:
- Increase of $1 million in Pennsylvania FY 2015-2016 budget,
- Increase of $700,00 in Pennsylvania FY 2016-2017 budget,
- Negotiated triple threshold limit on the Asset Test for SNAP access and supported eventual removal of Asset Test.
Supported Jewish Needs and Causes
- Passed multiple Resolutions condemning anti-Semitic bomb threats and vandalism upon Jewish organizations and cemeteries;
- Act 26 of 2015 – creates criminal penalties for cyber-bullying of a child;
- Act 70 of 2014 – Offering free curriculum and training on Holocaust Education for all schools in Pennsylvania;
- Defeated numerous legislative efforts enabling state and local governments to develop their own (in some cases, discriminatory) immigration reform measures;
- Would have hurt ability of Jewish agencies to recruit and manage staff due to onerous paperwork for employees who are either citizens or legal immigrants;
- Worked with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health ensure the use of kosher baby formula in the state’s WIC program;
- Developed action plan with the Pennsylvania Department of State and Pennsylvania House and Senate to assure that state government operations respects the Jewish Holidays throughout the year;
- Assisted in the enhancement of the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate® program throughout the Pennsylvania legislature;
- Developed and implemented Annual Pennsylvania Holocaust Memorial programs and multiple Advocacy Day on the Hill for the Jewish Communities.