I’m not sure Harrisburg cares! We need to let them know that we care and we can make a difference!
Today the blog will be about the meeting with legislators that The Arc Alliance held on November 12th. There were about six or seven legislators present. The reason they were having this event was because of the recent budget impasse. Pennsylvania still does not have a budget!
The Arc Alliance wasn’t the only organization present. There were many other human services organizations also there to tell their stories. There were also parents there to advocate for their children. Some of the stories they told were very emotional, you could see it on their faces. They really do care for their loved ones. I think one of the most shocking stories that I heard was that if a budget does not get passed by the Christmas holiday one of the organizations that was there is going to have to close its doors. This means some of the people would be homeless and others will be sent back to prison. That is a shocking reality! Also, for the people in day programs, if the budget does not get passed, they will not be able to go to work. Parents are seriously concerned about the well-being of their son or daughter, as well they should be. I know I will be when I become a parent someday.
I even had a chance to speak (Link to watch). My story made most, if not all of the people in the room emotional. I almost cried myself. Another thing that is nice to see is that the legislators that were there also care. There was a representative there that had a disabled sister. I think that personal connection makes it easier for her to relate to other people’s issues. This has also opened my eyes. Before this meeting, I was one of those people that didn’t care about the budget until it affects me. But, now after hearing this shocking truth about the budget, I care immensely. My voice matters! I never thought I would care about the budget, but now after seeing and hearing people who are going through horrible situations because of this budget impasse, I really do care.
There was a nursing assistant there with her story. She is only able to provide for her family because of the income she is getting from multiple jobs. The reason I bring this up is because they also talked about raising minimum wage. There is talk of raising it to $10, but that still won’t be enough. I think they need to raise it significantly more. In order to keep trained professionals around, you need to increase monetary funds.
Another thing they talked about was raising taxes. They talked about how raising the sales tax would help raise new revenue for the state. In my opinion, anything to raise revenue for the state is a good idea, even if one side says it’s a bad idea. My advice to you is to call your representative and voice your opinion. Let them know that people with disabilities as well as school districts need this budget passed as soon as possible. Let them know that if they do not stop playing politics, the organizations will suffer. As a representative from one of the organization’s put it, “Human services organizations are doing a good job at keeping these service providers afloat, but the ship is sinking”.
I want you to think about this analogy. Think of the human services organizations as the Titanic and the budget impasse as the iceberg. The Titanic has already hit the iceberg and it’s starting to sink. Some of the human services organizations have already perished, which means they have closed their doors and may never be able to open back up again because of startup costs. But, most of the organizations are in a lifeboat right now and even though it is helpful, it can’t help forever. Even sometimes a lifeboat sinks. I hope after reading this blog that you will go and voice your opinion because it is desperately needed.
I’m not lying when every time at the end of the blog I say that it only takes one person to change the
world. That is as true as the fact, one plus one is two. Harrisburg is planning to have this resolved by either Thanksgiving or Christmas, but people are still feeling the effects of the budget impasse. In fact, according to one of my school’s administrators, if the budget does not pass by March, my school district will start to feel the effects. So, now it is beginning to hit me in more ways than one. I am not only worried about me; I am worried about the people around me having to provide for their loved ones. I said before that I work with many nurses and nursing assistants. Because their job is part of the human services department, if the budget doesn’t get passed, the agencies that these people work for, might have to close their doors. Imagine you were a mother working to feed your family, you had beautiful children and you wanted to provide for them, and imagine you got the phone call one day saying, “We have to let you go because of the budget impasse”. That means you would not be able to provide for your family you might even become homeless until the budget was passed. Sorry for the dreary news, but it’s true, many people in the home health care industry could be facing that issue if a solution doesn’t arrive soon. Let’s just hope and pray that the budget gets resolved soon.
I think what disgusted me the most about this whole problem is that Governor Wolf, the state senators and representatives are still getting their paychecks while organizations like The Arc Alliance and other human services organizations are struggling to make ends meet and continue to provide services. I think that it is wrong and we need to find an end to it now before it gets to be too late. I hope you have the same opinion I do and if not, I hope that I’ve changed your mind about the budget. I thank you for taking this matter seriously. Thank you very much, have a great day and remember it only takes one person to change the world.