"Cutting the General Assistance Program was penny wise but pound foolish," Sharon Ward said on the program. "It's bad for the individuals, but it also means that we're going to see an increase in demand for more costly services — we're going to see more people in homeless shelters, more people on the street, more people in emergency rooms, and more people in jails instead of recovery."
Pennsylvania ended cash assistance today for very poor residents who cannot work and don’t qualify for other assistance, joining many other states that have scaled back or eliminated their General Assistance programs even as the need has grown.
The General Assembly has adopted a Welfare Code bill that eliminates the General Assistance Program, affecting close to 69,000 vulnerable Pennsylvanians. It also includes several other provisions that will make it harder for low-income individuals with high health needs to access health care services and for low-income mothers to find work.
The plan largely resembles a Senate-passed budget, spending below 2008-09 levels. It excludes plans to block grant education funding and county human services. Get line item details, funding by school district and more.
While policymakers decline to restore more funds to human services or preserve life-saving programs like General Assistance, they are using limited taxpayer dollars to give additional tax breaks to businesses and subsidies to private schools.
The Pennsylvania Senate approved a $27.6 billion budget plan today by a vote of 39-8. The plan improves upon the budget proposed by Governor Corbett, but deep cuts to education and health services remain.