Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the State Budget...

As most Pennsylvanians know, legislative leaders and the Governor’s office reached agreement Friday night on a framework for the 2009-2010 budget. They are working to draft a line-item budget and a number of bills that must be passed before this budget can be enacted. This process is expected to take about two weeks.

PCCY urges legislators to continue to work with a sense of urgency to pass a budget based on this framework, as the halting of state revenue to local agencies has had a devastating impact on essential services for children and families. The longer we wait, the more vulnerable they become.

We are encouraged that despite intense pressure to do otherwise, legislators and the Governor agreed on a framework that demonstrates long-term commitment to education and appears to maintain Pre-K services and protect children’s health care. This is quite a feat in this economy, but one we believe was absolutely necessary.

Nevertheless, some local school districts will not receive all the federal economic stimulus funding anticipated from the state. PCCY remains concerned that this will have a negative impact on local school districts. We are waiting to learn how line-item decisions will affect child care subsidies, youth and family services.

The surprise inclusion of a sales tax on tickets to arts and cultural events and the continued exclusion of taxing smokeless tobacco was short-sighted and bad for children and community health. It is unfortunate that the original proposal of a small increase to the Personal Income Tax was not taken seriously by a majority of our legislators, as it would have provided a more comprehensive and fair approach to raising needed new revenue. Likewise, taxes on smokeless tobacco, candy and similar items should have been considered. We must all be part of the movement to develop long-term and equitable approaches to funding essential services for children and youth instead of picking and choosing taxable items in last-minute, back-room deals.

We hope to report more as firm and reliable information on this year’s budget becomes available. Meanwhile, thank you for all your efforts to secure a budget that supports our kids!


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Public Citizens for Children and Youth is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the five-county southeastern Pennsylvania area.