Action is needed today. You have a key opportunity to stop the cuts and the block grant. The House floor debate on the budget (votes on amendments to the budget bill) began today. Rep. Gene DiGirolamo offered several amendments to S.B. 1466, the budget bill passed last month in the Senate, related to the Governor’s proposal for a Human Services Block Grant. The Arc of PA members should communicate your opposition to the Governor’s Human Services Block Grant by asking legislators of both parties in the House to support Rep. DiGirolamo’ s “amendment.” As you know, the Governor’s proposal cuts nearly $30 million from the ID Community Base appropriation, and puts all of the remaining funding for this program at risk of being used for some other human service in future years.
Every indication is that the vote is close. We need more legislators to know the impact of a block grant that would take money that they appropriated for persons with disabilities and allow counties to make county by county decisions as to whether to use those funds for persons with disabilities or to fund mandated child welfare services or other important human service needs. As long as there are people with disabilities waiting for emergency and critical services, we cannot support anything that would allow money to be moved away from supporting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Please take a few minutes to contact your Representatives regarding Rep. DiGirolamo’ s amendments. (and then make sure your Senators know how you feel). We have heard from a number of legislators that the block grant is not something they have heard much about from their constituents.
Rep. DiGirolamo’ s amendments:
· stops the Governor’s Human Services Block Grant proposal by transferring existing funding for six human service programs, together with related federal funds, back to their original appropriations.
· transfers and restores the funding for these programs back to this year’s funding levels
· contains language that prohibits the establishment of a Human Services Block Grant