GJC Voter Engagement Campaign
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The Social Action Committee of Germantown Jewish Centre is working with interfaith congregations throughout the city organized by POWER to raise voter engagement on the following issues:
1. Minimum Wage Ballot Measure
The Problem: Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty among big US cities, with more than 1 in 4 people living below the poverty line. Yet many large employers in our city continue to pay minimum wage while making record profits. For example, to cut costs, US Airways outsources passenger service jobs to low-bid contractors, leaving the 2,000 baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants, and sky caps who make Philadelphia International Airport run with wages as low as $7.25 an hour.
The Solution: City Council listened to demands for economic justice at the Airport and supports
extending the City of Philadelphia's Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard of $10.88/hr, with healthcare coverage and paid sick days, to all workers employed by companies that subcontract with the city or receive city subsidies.
But to go into effect, the change must be passed by voters through a referendum on the May ballot. If passed by voters, the higher standards will be enforced for workers at Philadelphia International Airport and many more employees of City-contracted projects.
Voter Role: Vote YES to the Minimum Wage Ballot Measure on May 20th and volunteer to turn out voters so the measure passes by a large majority.
2. We Need a Full and Fair Funding Formula for Public Education
The Problem: Pennsylvania is one of only three states that does not use a formula for equitably supporting public education, which means that money is doled out based on political power instead of student and district needs. The result is drastic school funding crises, not just in Philadelphia but in districts across the state. Closed schools, cut programs, and laid-off teachers means diminishing opportunities for our children. The impacts are greatest on low income students and people of color.
The Solution: There are two steps: getting a formula and making sure it has funds. A, fair formula would take factors like poverty rate and the number of English Language Learners into account when deciding how much state money to distribute to each district. It would make it possible for districts to predict in advance how much they will get each year, reducing the likelihood of annual funding crises. We need to make rational school funding the #1 issue in the Governor’s race, to expand this issue outside of Philadelphia, and to pressure lawmakers to prioritize full, fair funding in 2015. While it is not on the ballot this year, identifying voters like you who support full, fair funding will help convince lawmakers that this is a huge priority for the people who elect them.
Voter Role: Get to the polls, talk to friends, family, and policy-makers about a fully implemented, fair funding formula, and stay tuned for ways to get involved in the fall.