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Special Budget Alert - February 29, 2012

After three weeks of examining the state budget, organizations and coalitions across the state have had some time to weigh in.  

County commissioners are among the many groups to have differing views on the budget, mostly centered around the Human Services Development Fund Block Grant, which will combine funding for 7 different programs into a single block grant.  The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania has endorsed this choice, as have Chester County Commissioners.  However, cuts made as part of the block grants seem worrying to some: according to the Patriot-News, Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick III is concerned with the cut in mental health services, saying “Literally, people could be turned out on the street. They could end up in prison or worse.”  The York Daily Record/Sunday News reports that commissioners are concerned that the governor’s budget proposal puts “county officials statewide in a position where they have to either make drastic cuts for the people who are most vulnerable, or raise county taxes.”

Meanwhile, nonprofit organizations have been asking legislators to restore cuts made in the Governor’s budget when they release their own budget proposals.  In Allegheny County, a rally focused on closing tax loopholes and deferring tax cuts to prevent cuts to agencies.  Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, used an op-ed to focus on how budget cuts will affect Pennsylvania’s children for years to come. And last week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center held a summit to discuss the budget and its impacts.

Short Links to Big Issues

Events and Opportunities
Support the General Assistance Program

PA Cares for All is looking for organizations who want to sign on to a letter to save the General Assistance program. General Assistance is a last-resort program providing extremely meager benefits to 68,000 Pennsylvanians with no income.  There is no other safety net for its recipients:  if someone is able to work or has another source of income, she is ineligible for GA.  The overwhelming majority of recipients are disabled; most of these people are applying for federal SSI disability benefits that will reimburse the Commonwealth once approved.  GA also provides a lifeline to women escaping domestic violence.  It supports people in intensive drug or alcohol treatment programs.  And GA supports caregivers and children unable to live with their families.

If you wish to sign on to this letter, please do so by the end of the week by emailing Louise Hayes at  You can also sign an online letter at

PA Budgetwatch Town Hall Meeting on March 9

The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties will host a PA Budgetwatch Town Hall Meeting on March 9 in the Koppelman Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center (601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton) from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.  

The panelists confirmed to date are:
  • William Browning, Director, Lackawanna County Human Services
  • Michael Hanley, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Tony Ross, President, United Way of Pennsylvania
  • Peg Ruddy, Executive Director, Women's Resource Center
Learn how current state budget cuts are impacting social services in the region and the implications of further budgetary shortfalls on the service infrastructure in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Download the event flyer.
RSVP here or by calling (570) 343-1267 x221

A Conversation With Our Legislators

The Bucks County Women's Advocacy Coalition and the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invite you to attend “A Conversation With Our Legislators: PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls” on Friday, March 30 from 8-10 a.m.  This year they will be presenting various perspectives on the PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls.

This event will include leading fiscal policy expert Sharon Ward who will provide an analysis of what's at stake for women and girls in Governor Tom Corbett's second budget proposal.  Noted labor economist Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center will discuss the direction of the state's economy, with a particular focus on how working and low-income women are faring. Coalition partners will discuss the impacts of our current financial realities on women and girls in Bucks County.  Several of our local legislators will also speak about what they see as the opportunities and challenges in the 2012 PA State Budget.

Please join this event on Friday, March 30, 2012 from 8-10 a.m. at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 Street Road (Routes 611 and 132), Warrington, PA. Please forward this invitation to anyone interested in the well-being of women and girls in Bucks County.

Click here to RSVP. For more information about the event, please send an email to


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