On Thursday, September 3, 2015, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an op-ed by Kathy Fisher, policy manager for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, a member of the Better Choices for Pennsylvania coalition.
(HARRISBURG, Pa.) – Aug. 26, 2015 –The Pennsylvania legislature needs to buckle down and finally start working on a sustainable state budget, a coalition of human services and budget groups said in a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda the morning after the House took a series of unsuccessful and likely unconstitutional line-item veto override votes on the budget passed at the end of June. Gov. Wolf vetoed that budget in its entirety on June 30, after introducing in March his own budget proposal, which the General Assembly’s leadership failed to seriously consider.
After seven weeks of game-playing culminating in last night’s show that flopped, speakers at the press conference told lawmakers that it’s long past time to negotiate a budget that increases education funding, protects Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens and makes gas drillers pay their fair share in a severance tax.
"As the budget impasse drags on, it seems like the very real needs of Pennsylvanians who are hurting are being cynically disregarded in favor of political games that will do little good for anyone,” said Alan Jennings, executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. “Too many people in...
The Better Choices for Pennsylvania coalition sent a memo to Governor Wolf and the Members of the General Assembly on June 27th, 2015, advocating for a 2015-16 budget that restores funding that was cut from human services in recent years and that increases investment in the services that improve the quality of life for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents.
The text of the memo is included below.
To: Governor Tom Wolf and Members of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania
From: The Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition
RE: 2015-16 Budget and the Need to Invest in Human Services
Pennsylvania needs a new direction. For far too long, our commonwealth has been relying on tax cuts as its cure for all ills. It has not worked. While the wealthiest Pennsylvanians are prospering, too many in the state are struggling to make ends meet.
Chronic underfunding of human services programs combined with funding cuts enacted in recent years have left working families, people with disabilities, senior citizens, children, and the agencies that provide assistance to these populations struggling to do more with less. We need a responsible budget that restores funding to these vital programs and increases investment in the services that help our most vulnerable citizens to live, learn, work, and thrive in Pennsylvania.
In order to accomplish this vision, we need to raise revenue in a way that makes our tax system fairer for vulnerable communities and...