August 31st – Two weeks ago Governor Rendell announced that he was “effectuating” his plan to plug the $282 million state spending deficit that exists as a result of Congress passing a smaller than promised enhanced federal Medicaid match rate (FMAP).
Included in Rendell’s plan was the decision to place approximately $200 million in recently enacted spending into budgetary reserve – a process Rendell assured meant that the “money will never be spent.”
Today, the Rendell Administration unveiled the appropriations that will be impacted by some percentage of a cut. While Rendell in mid August implied reductions would be across-the-board and rise to a cut of 1.9 percent there was always speculation that some discretionary lines would be insulated. Today’s detail reveals that not every discretionary line experienced a cut and not all cuts rose to the level of 1.9 percent. Examples of spending that was put in the deep freeze today include:
- $339,000 for the State Food Purchase (help for local food banks);
- $4.9 million for the state’s Accountability Block Grant program and a $1.6 million hit to Pre-K Counts and $729,000 for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance;
- $8.86 million for county child welfare as well as a $63,000 reduction for local family centers;
- $43,000 for the Juvenile Court Judges Commission;
- $37,000 in prevention/evidence-based focused programming within the Executive Offices;
- $100,000 for the improvement of juvenile probation services;
- $1.03 million to local libraries
- $524,000 to local health departments and $405,000 less for state health care centers
- More than $17 million in Medical Assistance
- $1.01 million for behavioral health services and $5.4 million for mental health services
- Rape crisis will be reduced by $71,000 and domestic violence services is frozen out of $124,000
- $235,000 is extracted from the Human Services Development Fund
Today’s frozen appropriations are necessary because when the 2010-2011 Commonwealth Budget was adopted in early July, Rendell and the General Assembly agreed to a final 2010-2011 Commonwealth Budget that banked on nearly $850 million from FMAP. FMAP extension eventually materialized in early August, but the approved bill included less FMAP assistance to the states than promised earlier in the year.
Today’s reductions come on top of cuts that were already enacted as part of the 2010-2011 Commonwealth Budget. For example (with today’s freeze included) here’s how a few appropriations have fared when compared to 2009-2010 funding:
- $487,000 cut from the State Food Purchase (help for local food banks);
- $16.8 million cut from the state’s Accountability Block Grant program and a $2.7 million hit to Pre-K Counts and $1.7 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance;
- $11.5 million cut to county child welfare as well as a $63,000 reduction for local family centers;
- $6.43 million cut to local libraries
- Rape crisis reduced by $130,000 and domestic violence services is cut $226,000
- $6.1 million has been extracted from the Human Services Development Fund
State officials, counties, service providers and advocates will now be tasked with figuring out exactly what today’s announcement means on the ground (i.e. the degree to which waiting lists for services will grow longer, prevention services that already have been trimmed back are now eliminated, how workers juggle more cases and chores, etc).