Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Letter to the Editor: Pa. budget must serve the neediest citizens

This letter was published today in The Delaware County Daily Times.


To the Times:

The past month has been an anxiety-ridden time for both legislators and nonprofits looking to balance available funding with Pennsylvania’s needs.

As the commonwealth continues without a budget, many are working without pay, stopping their critical services, or facing layoffs – including the nonprofit organizations that care for vulnerable people at times of critical need.

PathWays PA, an organization working in the Greater Philadelphia region to provide residential, child welfare, and job-training services to women and their families, is one of hundreds of organizations providing services without government payment.

While PathWays PA has been weathering this crisis, we know of sister agencies that have endured payless paydays or were forced to lay off staff at a time when these organizations are most needed in the commonwealth.

Even without a budget, we know that contracted services through EARN Centers, DHS programs, and other training programs must continue to ensure families remain safe and on a path to self-sufficiency.

We write today in the hope that a budget comes swiftly in order to lift this immediate burden from nonprofits, but also as a reminder that our budget must focus on the long-term needs of Pennsylvanians.

If it is necessary to include increased revenue in order to keep vital services for Pennsylvanians, we support that decision and the lawmakers who must make such a difficult choice.

What we cannot support is an extended struggle for a budget which does not serve the most vulnerable people, low wage earners trying to gain more skills, children and those that provide services to them.

CAROL GOERTZEL

President/CEO,

PathWays PA

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