The Path to Fiscal Responsibility

PA Cares for All RallyPrevention is the path to fiscal responsibility.

Those were the words of Tony Ross of the United Way of Pennsylvania at a rally in the state Capitol that brought 700 people from across Pennsylvania to Harrisburg today.

Many speakers called on Governor Corbett and the General Assembly to restore funding for the state’s General Assistance Program.

General Assistance is a benefit of last resort that offers people who are sick or living with a disability a tiny grant allowing them to participate in treatment, rent a room in a boarding house or find a shelter bed. Women fleeing abuse use it as a lifeline when they escape their abusers. Roughly 68,000 people in every county use the program together with Medical Assistance to avoid homelessness and build a better life for themselves. Governor Corbett has proposed eliminating General Assistance.

Michael Froelich, an attorney with Community Legal Services and a strong advocate for restoring General Assistance, told the crowd that so many Pennsylvanians took time out of their busy lives to come to Harrisburg today because they wanted to send a message to our elected leaders: You should care for all Pennsylvanians, not just the privileged and wealthy.

The PA Cares for All coalition is one of the loudest voices in the commonwealth calling for the restoration of General Assistance.

The Governor's budget would also lump several proven county health and human service programs into a proposed block grant, without any goals or plan, and make an across-the-board 20% cut to funding. It will impact critical services for children, seniors, the homeless and people with disabilities.

This is a big concern for Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, a Republican and chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee. He vowed to fight hard to restore that funding.

We hope he does, and that his colleagues listen. Otherwise, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians will be left in the dark and demand for homeless shelters, emergency room services, fire and police will increase – all at significantly greater cost.

Check out more photos from the rally here. You can also send a message to the Governor and to lawmakers here.

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