Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Local Impact of Budget Impasse

While there is some hope that a budget will be passed in the House tonight, the impact of the budget impasse is continuing. Below is a roundup of some of the recent stories on the budget (many of which have been linked to already in this blog)

  • October 7, 2009: Without state funding, the owner of Radcliffe Learning Center for preschool children in Bucks County has gone through $90,000 of her personal savings since the beginning of the budget impasse. Without a budget, the Center is not receiving the income they are owed through child-care subsidies. The Center is running out of money and unless a budget is passed quickly they will have to start turning children away, leaving parents either unable to work or having to quickly locate alternative care for their children.
  • October 7, 2009: Organizations across the state are facing staff cuts and worse as the state budget impasse continues. The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, "$320,000 in the hole" since August, has had to lay off four people, cut the work week of another three, and cut the salary of yet another staff person.
  • October 7, 2009: Eight of the fourteen child care centers that have closed across the state since the budget impasse began have cited lack of funding for their closure. The owner of a child care center interviewed for the article is not cashing her own paychecks and has had to lay off 12 staff members.
  • October 6, 2009: Over 70 percent of Centre County’s $80 million budget comes from state money, because counties are agents of the state in delivering social services. Centre, along with other counties, will have to decide whether to use a $15 million line of credit while they continue to await state funding.
  • October 5, 2009: York County will have to either borrow more money or shut down services if the budget impasse continues much longer. In September, the County Commissioner had to borrow $5.5 million to cover the county’s budgetary shortfall. This borrowing did not take into consideration the millions of dollars the county has spent to make up for the gap left without state funding.
  • October 1, 2009: Calcutta House was unable to pick up its monthly prescription of more than 11,000 dosages of HIV/AIDS medications, which they dispense to clients, because they owed the pharmacy $217 in back payments. Calcutta House was unable to make the payments to the pharmacy and over 100 other vendors because the state budget impasse has tied up nearly all of it federal, state, and city funding. The pharmacy has decided to work with Calcutta House even during the budget impasse.
  • September 30, 2009: The Hamburg School District learned that they will likely receive less funding than they had anticipated. Having already started the school year with those funds prepared to be spent, the School Board needs to revise their plans and make difficult decisions and potential cuts.
  • September 29, 2009: In Lawrence County, the courthouse will be closed during the Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks in order to save money. Employees will take those holidays unpaid, and anyone not effected by the holiday furloughs, those at the county’s jail and 911 center, are being asked to take a 3 percent pay cut.
  • September 26, 2009: Local child care providers have not been paid for months, forcing some to take out loans, cut hours, and even close their doors. The ripple effect is that low-income working parents who rely on state assistance to pay for child care are having to cut back their hours at work or quit all together.
  • September 26, 2009: Without funding, no Head Start classrooms in Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties have opened this year, effecting 238 three and four year olds. For the 180 students in Pre-K Counts, their continued enrollment depends on when and how much funding they will receive.

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