NASW-PA Statement on PA Budget Impasse
Monday, August 31, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tara Breitsprecher August 31, 2015 (717) 232-4125 firstname.lastname@example.org
National Association of Social Workers–Pennsylvania Chapter Responds to Budget Impasse
Impasse is Putting Vulnerable Populations at Risk
Harrisburg, Pa. — Now nearly eight weeks late, social service agencies and their clients are imploring Gov. Wolf and the General Assembly to come to a consensus on the state budget. The National Association of Social Workers-Pennsylvania Chapter (NASW-PA) is greatly concerned about the effects the budget impasse is having on individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth that rely on critical supports provided by social service agencies that may not be functioning fully due to lack of funds. NASW-PA understands the intricacies involved with formulating a state budget, but we cannot neglect the families and communities that depend on services from agencies operating on state funds during the process of negotiations.
A late budget, especially as late as this, can have major effects on social service agencies. Agency directors cannot effectively plan for the coming months without a full understanding of their state aid amounts. Social service providers, oftentimes those providing services to the most vulnerable populations including children and older adults, may not be able to continue offering services due to insufficient cash balances. Agencies may be forced to make the difficult decision of discontinuing services or withholding pay from their providers as they are not receiving the necessary funds to operate.
“Pennsylvania’s children, citizens struggling with mental illness, victims of abuse, and elderly persons who are vulnerable and suffering should not be forced to pay the price for the partisan deadlock in Harrisburg, nor should the social service delivery system” NASW-PA Executive Director Johanna Byrd. We urge the General Assembly to authorize, and the Governor to sign into law, a temporary appropriation bill to protect Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable populations. We cannot ignore the massive effects of a late budget on agencies, providers, families and communities throughout our Commonwealth while the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf continue negotiations.