Budget Negotiations in Full Swing: Press Legislators to Restore Cuts and Stop the Block Grant!
June 21, 2012
This document was updated June 22, 2012, to reflect the need to restore a 10 percent cut, not a 20 percent cut as originally noted.
After intense negotiations between the administration and legislative leadership, Governor Corbett has accepted the Senate's proposed spend number of $27.66 billion for fiscal year 2012/13, making an additional $500 million available for restoration of proposed budget cuts. Now that the spend number has been agreed upon, it is imperative that all stakeholders press for full restoration of human services cuts. The Senate’s proposed budget included a restoration of half the original cuts ($84 million of the original $168 million cut). In order to maintain and protect Pennsylvania’s safety net the remaining $84 million be restored as well.
Additionally, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) issued the Public Welfare Code Language for the proposed Human Service Development Fund block grant. PCPA contracted with Allen C. Warshaw, former chief counsel at DPW and now with Rhoads & Sinon, LLP, for legal review of the recently released language. The analysis fully supports the association’s ongoing and unwavering opposition to the proposed block grant. PCPA believes that as county commissioners learn more about the real negative consequences of this approach, including increased liability, they will rethink their position.
It is recognized that these are difficult times for the state’s budget. However, the proposed cuts are excessive and devastating to the system and target the truly needy. They will hurt individuals who have long been the responsibility of the state, dating back to its founding. These vulnerable individuals should not be sacrificed during this time of more limited resources, but should be among the first protected. In spite of the well-acknowledged fact that persons with mental illnesses and intellectual disability can live successfully in communities at a cost significantly less than in institutions, the proposed block grant and budget cuts would result in going back on these promises and shifting the burden back to local communities for care that is a state responsibility.
PCPA urges members to make calls to their legislators and to leaders in the General Assembly, thanking them for their support in restoring essential funding to the human services and urging them to restore the remaining $84 million cut from the Human Services Development Fund programs. Please make the following points:
- A 10 percent cut in community mental health services is likely to result in the termination of outpatient services, the gateway to critically-needed prescription drugs, for as many as 25,000 mentally ill Pennsylvanians who need medication to avoid much more expensive treatment in psychiatric hospitals.
- A 10 percent cut in base-funded community services for people with intellectual disabilities is likely to result in the elimination of family support services for thousands of families who are doing everything they can to keep their sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities at home, avoiding much more expensive residential care in the community or state institutions.
- A 10 percent cut in drug and alcohol treatment funding will result in over 5,000 Pennsylvanians in need of addiction treatment being unable to access critical services that enable them to reclaim productive positive lives in the community. Lack of access to addiction services will affect the criminal justice population, individuals who are homeless, women with children, and others who are uninsured.
In addition to your own legislators, please contact:
- Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (717-787-4712)
- Senate Majority Appropriations Committee Chair Jake Corman (717-787-1377)
- Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (717-787-7084)
- Speaker of the House Sam Smith (717-787-3845)
- House Majority Appropriations Committee Chair Bill Adolph (717-787-1248)
- Senate Appropriations Committee Member Bob Mensch (717-787-4110)
- Senate Appropriations Committee Member Pat Vance (717-787-8524)
- Senate Appropriations Committee Member Lloyd Smucker (717-787-6535)
Further questions should be directed to Anne Leisure (firstname.lastname@example.org).