Friday, June 17, 2011

Protesters Want More Human Services Funding

Local human services advocates rallied outside Governor Tom Corbett’s Pittsburgh office today to protest the House Republican budget proposal.

The House plan sets aside $10.7 billion for the Department of Public Welfare, about $471 million less than Corbett’s proposal. Last year’s DPW budget was $10.6 billion.

Just Harvest Co-Director Tara Marks says Harrisburg leaders should put $500 million from the budget surplus toward the DPW to fund it to Corbett’s proposed level.

Jim Franciscus of the Allegheny County Assistance Office says his department is understaffed and dealing with 22% more paperwork than ever before, so more funding is necessary to counteract a growing need.

Erin Gill of the PA Health Access Network also came out to protest the elimination of the adultBasic health insurance program, which provided coverage to 45,000 Pennsylvanians before it was terminated in February.

“But slashing these services isn’t enough for the Governor,” says Gill. “He’s taking it one step farther: taking dollars set aside in the Tobacco Settlement for health care and using them to start a new state-subsidized loan program for businesses, called Liberty Loans.”

The protesters toted umbrellas in the sunny weather, an allusion to Republican legislators’ idea to leave the $500 million tax surplus in a “rainy day fund.”

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