Keep pressure on PA legislators to pass a responsible budget
By: Jomel Silverio, Co-Chair of CSP
Pennsylvania does not yet have a budget for this fiscal year that started on July 1. Negotiations are continuing. It is important that the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office hear from you.
Thousands of individuals are being or will be affected by the impasse. Human Services provide for the most vulnerable in our communities: children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Your name and where you live, and if you are a person with a disability and/or a family member are details to include in your message to your legislator and representative.
When communicating with your representatives, make sure to include how the budget relates to you and how not having a final state budget has affected you.
Questions to consider when sharing your story and advocating for more funding are:
-Have community services been denied?
-Have services been cut?
-Are you or a family member waiting for services?
Some individuals working in the human services field will be laid off, including individuals with lived experience like certified peer specialists. How will individuals pay their rent, utilities, buy food and other necessities without jobs?
Legislators are almost six months late in passing a budget. They should not be paid until the budget is passed.
Restore the 10 percent cut to mental health funds that were made in 2012. The Senate recently passed their version of a budget that included the restoration of the funds. Remind your representatives that there should be fair taxation, especially in the case of the oil and shale resources.
Zero increases and other cuts to mental health budgets over the past decade have created an inadequate system that doesn’t meet the needs of the people. Restoring cuts will benefit the community, specifically public schools.
If your representatives, like the Governor, have been advocating to restore mental health dollars and increasing revenues in the budget, thank them for their work.
For more information, contact Regional CSP Technical Assistant Penny Johnson at 610-270-3865 or Community Advocates Director Kathie Mitchell at 610-270-0375.