Pathways PA Special Budget Alert: April 20, 2011


Half way into the fiscal year and after months of standoff, the House and Senate passed the final FY 2011 spending bill for discretionary programs (those funded annually). One hour before midnight on April 8, when the federal government was set to shut down, a deal was struck estimated to cut $38.5 billion in spending for the remainder of FY 2011, the largest annual spending reduction ever. A one-week continuing resolution (CR) was passed to keep the government open and running while allowing time for details of the plan to be ironed out. On April 14, H.R. 1473 passed the House 260-167, with 59 Republicans and over half of the Democrats voting against the bill. The spending cut was likely too little for the Republicans and too much for the Democrats who opposed the bill.

Later in the day, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 81-19, with 15 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and 1 Independent opposing passage. Many programs thought to be at risk were spared cuts. However, there are significant cuts to housing and community development programs as well as cuts in job training, energy assistance, and other programs.

In the aftermath of the passage of H.R. 1437 there is a debate over how much money was actually cut in FY 2011 spending. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the final bill reduced ‘budget authority’ by $37.7 billion – that is, it reduced the amount that federal agencies could enter into agreements to pay. CBO showed that much of those obligated funds would not have been spent in FY 2011, delaying the impact of most of the cuts until FY 2012 and beyond. Between FY 2012 and FY 2016, CBO estimated that $20 billion to $25 billion would not be spent, and also acknowledged that additional reductions were possible that it had no way of measuring now. It is inaccurate to conclude, as some news reports have suggested, that the H.R. 1437 cut less than $1 billion in the FY 2011 spending bill, although it is true that less than a billion would be cut in the next six months. (Click here for the CBO analysis.)

This information provided by our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs.


State Budget Proposal Eliminates Human Services Development Fund

Governor Corbett’s proposed budget eliminates the Human Services Development Fund (HSDF) – a $23.5 million Department of Public Welfare line item that provides critically needed support for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable populations, including domestic violence victims.

Philadelphia receives $5.83 million in HSDF support for critical interventions, including:
  • Office of Supportive Housing for in-take and emergency relocation for approximately 15,000 people per year: $2.4 million
  • Department of Human Services for domestic violence legal services: $250,000
  • AIDS Services: $1 million
  • Lead Abatement: $115,000
  • Disease Control: $70,000
  • Translation Services for City Health Center clients: $350,000
  • Anti-violence Summer Recreation Programming for children and youth: $696,000
  • Senior Citizen Outreach: $105,000

HSDF must be restored to ensure that our community’s most vulnerable residents receive the strategic, short-term supports needed to alleviate further suffering and move forward with their lives.

It can be done. By ending special tax breaks for big oil and tobacco companies, and closing corporate tax loopholes, Pennsylvania can protect its most vulnerable populations without a bloated budget.

You can urge your lawmakers to restore HSDF by visiting

This information provided by our allies at Women Against Abuse.

PA Senate Democrats Release Alternative Proposed Budget

On April 15, 2011 PA Senate Democrats released a budget alternative to Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget. The Democrats’ budget proposal includes $750 million in cuts to programs and $290 million in new tax revenue, including a proposed tax on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The proposal notably forgoes the significant cuts to education that the Corbett budget received attention for, and returns education funding to 2010-2011 levels.

Click here to read an article outlining the proposal by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Delaware County Schools Face State’s Largest Proposed Budget Cuts

Delaware County’s Chester-Upland School District faces a proposed state budget cut of 17 percent, the largest proposed cut in the state. The school district announced earlier in 2011 that it faced a budget deficit for the current year of $5-7 million. There are concerns in the community that the school district does not know how it will cope with the additional losses to the budget proposed by the Governor in his FY 2011-12 budget.

To read a Philadelphia Inquirer article on proposed budget cuts to area schools, click here.

Participate in Regional Forums on Education Budget with Education Secretary Ron Tomalis 

In the coming weeks, the Team Pennsylvania Foundation is sponsoring a series of forums with Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis. The Secretary will meet with leaders from across the state to discuss the 2011-12 education budget and what it means for the commonwealth.
You can learn more and register for the forums on the Team PA web site. This is an important opportunity to have your voice heard.

Date: April 28
Time: 2:30 – 4:30 PM
Location: H.O. Hirt Auditorium - 160 East Front Street, Erie

Date: April 29
Time: 10:00 – 12:00 noon
Location: Bayer USA Foundation, Freddies (Building #6) - 100 Bayer Road, Pittsburgh

Ask Your State Legislator to Enact a Gas Drilling Tax

Governor Corbett’s budget proposal cuts nearly $2 billion for schools, full-day kindergarten, colleges, and health and human services, while the natural gas industry pays very little in taxes. Pennsylvania should enact a gas drilling tax at the state level to avoid these deep cuts and higher local taxes for working families.
85% of the oil and gas companies that filed corporate tax returns in 2008 paid no state taxes, while many other drillers are structured in a way to lower their state tax bills considerably. Drillers also enjoy a generous array of federal tax breaks and pay little in local taxes.

Some lawmakers favor a local drilling impact fee, but the impacts of drilling don’t stop at local boundaries. A state drilling tax will support education, health care and children’s services, as well as the local and environmental impacts of drilling.

Tell your lawmakers the time has come to end the special interest tax breaks for the gas industry:

This information provided by Better Choices for Pennsylvania.

Montgomery County Rally for a Better Budget

Join the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition as they tell Harrisburg that we need continued support in the budget for child care programs, schools and literacy classes, and supports for people with disabilities.

When: Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 3 PM
Where: Montgomery County Courthouse, Airy Street & Swede Street, Norristown

Rally for a Responsible Budget 

On May 3, 2011 there will be a Rally for a Responsible Budget at the state capital between 1:00-2:00 pm to address all the major cuts of Gov. Corbett's proposed budget.

Free bus rides are available if you sign up now! Go to for more information on the rally and to sign up for the buses. Space is limited on the buses, so sign up ASAP!


Stand Up for Children in This Year's Budget

Earlier this month the PA House and Senate wrapped up three weeks of hearings on Governor Corbett’s proposed budget.

Three key themes emerged from the hearings:
  • The Governor’s proposal tries to balance the budget at the expense of children and youth. While it would continue to fund most early childhood education, the budget makes deep cuts to K-12 and higher education; prevention; child welfare and income supports for struggling families. (For details on proposed cuts to children click here).
  • Some legislators don’t want to stop there. They’re disappointed that the Governor didn’t propose deeper cuts to the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), which funds health care, child care and other services that kids need to grow up.
  • The only way to ensure that Pennsylvania supports all the services that are critically important to children is by increasing the ‘spend number’ in the budget.
  • This is possible if Pennsylvania’s largest corporations pay their fair share through a tax on natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and closing other corporate tax loopholes.
  • Did you know more than 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s largest corporations don’t pay any income tax?
  • That taxing natural gas could generate almost all of the proposed cuts to the State System of Higher Education?
  • Or that Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn’t tax smokeless tobacco, a move that’s not only harmful to the state’s bottom line but also to our children’s health? (Click here for more information about these loopholes.)
Many legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, are concerned about the impact of proposed cuts on their constituents. Yet they are equally concerned about voter backlash against a tax increase.

Your email to them now will help tip the balance in favor of a budget that supports the whole child – not one that supports some programs for children at the expense of others. ACT NOW by clicking here.

While legislators are fast at work, please join Public Citizens for Children and Youth in urging the House and Senate to call for a budget that supports the whole child by clicking here.

Adult Education and Family Literacy

Adult education and family literacy program are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient.

Despite the importance of adult education programs they continue to be cut in the budget year after year – this year being cut by $2,474,000.

Please contact your state legislator today and let then know how important these programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.

Basic Education

The state budget proposed by Governor Corbett takes aim at education, slashing one billion dollars from public education funding and cutting aid to Pennsylvania colleges and universities by 50%. Meanwhile, prison budgets are being increased and Pennsylvania is still the only state that doesn’t tax natural gas drilling or smokeless tobacco.

Click here to e-mail your legislators NOW to say NO to the Governor's proposed budget cuts.

Industry Partnerships

On March 8, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his 2011-2012 General Fund Budget. Despite difficult budget constraints, the Governor showed his support for the Industry Partnership program by allocating $ 1.613 million to fund the building of Industry Partnerships. The Governor’s budget, however, zeroed out the Industry Partnership training line item, which had been $5.95 million dollars in last year’s budget. Since the 2008-09 budget the Industry Partnership program has been cut over 90%, from $20 million to $1.613. While many partnerships are wisely diversifying their funding, 90% is a very deep cut.

The PA Fund for Workforce Solutions is working with other advocates, including PathWays PA, over the next several months to persuade legislators and the new administration to restore funding for Industry Partnership training.

Information on the Governor's Budget can be viewed on the PFWS website at or at the state website at


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