PHILADELPHIA, March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The budget (HB 1802) passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly last week is yet another budget exploiting short-term fixes and delayed payments that would have a devastating impact on Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens, said Michael Brody, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
"Year after year, the legislature has delayed payments and failed to expand our revenue base, playing chicken with Pennsylvania's financial health. If the legislature does not raise adequate revenue this year, the human service sector will face significant challenges and, more consequentially, next year will be dealt cuts seven times the magnitude of the 2012 cuts," Brody said. "We fear what this could mean for the people we employ, the people we serve, and our economy as a whole."
Following the 2012 cuts, MHASP had to shut down several programs and lay off dozens of employees.
"We were not alone in this," Brody added. "Human service agencies across Pennsylvania suffered, with some organizations laying off hundreds of employees.
"The Pennsylvania General Assembly has time and again passed budgets that contain one-time funding streams, shift payments into future fiscal years, and fail to invest in real revenue streams," Brody noted. "As a result, Pennsylvania's credit rating is one of the worst in the nation, people in need of services languish on waiting lists, and non-profits have closed programs and laid off employees."
Brody said that non-profits create nearly one fifth of all private sector jobs in Pennsylvania and that failing to invest in human services is failing to invest in Pennsylvania's workforce.
"The proposal to increase the personal income tax would add less than $4 per week to the taxes of an earner making $50,000 annually," he said. "Less than $4 a week could save after-school programs, mental health programs, affordable housing, and countless other services that support the vitality of Pennsylvania's communities.
"The Pennsylvania legislature has a responsibility to invest in the fiscal sustainability of our Commonwealth," he concluded. "This is a responsibility they have neglected for all too long."
Since 1951, MHASP has been a leader regionally, statewide and nationally in transforming mental health services to become more responsive to the priorities of individuals with mental health challenges and their families.
CONTACT: Alyssa Schatz, Vice President for Advocacy Services, MHASP, firstname.lastname@example.org, 267-507-3816
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SOURCE Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania