Press Release: Public Interest, Education, Human Service, Labor and Environmental Organizations release “A 2016-17 Budget for Pennsylvania’s Future”

Media contacts
Marc Stier, stier@pennbpc.org
Jeff Garis, garis@pennbpc.org

Public Interest, Education, Human Service, Labor and Environmental Organizations release “A 2016-17 Budget for Pennsylvania’s Future”

Groups call for completion of 2015-16 budget, and a 2016-17 budget that raises additional revenue to close the structural deficit and make necessary investments in vital programs

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February 2, 2016 (Harrisburg, PA) – A diverse coalition of organizations today released a letter to the governor and members of the General Assembly, “A 2016-17 Budget for Pennsylvania’s Future,” that recommends ways to fairly raise taxes to increase investments in education and workforce development, promote shared prosperity, protect those in need, protect the environment, reform the criminal justice system, and revitalize democracy.

“These recommendations are the result of collaboration across a diverse set of organizations, and speak to the needs of the majority of Pennsylvanians,” said Jeff Garis, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s outreach and engagement director. “They start with us stating the need to raise new revenue, both to pay for the budget that was passed and next year’s. Without new revenue, we will be facing unacceptable cuts in the most crucial government services and education.”
 
Deneene Brockington, Community Relations Director, Resources for Human Development said, "We at Resources for Human Development believe that every Pennsylvanian deserves proper mental health care and social services to live quality lives. We urge that the PA state legislature find the revenue to fully fund human services in this current budget year and for fiscal year 2016-2017."
 
Sheila Christopher, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Food Banks and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania said, “The State Food Purchase Program appropriation allows the commonwealth to provide essential resources to all 67 counties for the purchase of foods and nutritional supplements, food provider transportation and infrastructure, and access to federal food commodities. $21 million is needed to help bridge the gap between current funding and demand. An increased investment to $5 million for Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System will allow the commonwealth to leverage Pennsylvania’s agricultural surpluses and charitable food distribution infrastructure to benefit farmers, packers and the 1.8 million Pennsylvanians struggling with hunger.”

Sandra Strauss, Director of Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach, Pennsylvania Council of Churches said, “The Pennsylvania Council of Churches believes that budgets are moral documents. We call on our elected officials to work toward a responsible budget that serves ALL Pennsylvanians well—including our most vulnerable neighbors who need a good education and a safe environment to thrive.”

“State budgets embody the values that we, as Pennsylvanians, all share,” said Marc Stier, PBPC’s executive director. “We value a vibrant democracy, a growing economy, superior education, support for those who most need it, clean air and water, and equal opportunity for everyone. Our legislators and the governor have a responsibility to enact fair and balanced budgets that express our common goals.”

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