Restore the partnership between the counties and Harrisburg
The House Republican budget bill (H.B. 218) would cut or eliminate tens of millions of dollars in state support for county justice, corrections and healthcare services.
In many of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, the loss of these funds could cripple county budgets already devastated by deep cuts in previous Republican spending plans.
Because of those previous cuts and the 2015-16 budget impasse, most counties have already drawn down on their reserves and lost millions in interest as a result; 30 percent of counties have had to borrow just to keep required programs and services operating.
Few counties are in a position to survive the deep cuts in the latest Republican budget bill.
So although H.B. 218 is touted by House Republicans as a “no tax increase” state budget, in reality, its lack of adequate support for counties will place additional pressures on local budgets and additional burdens on local taxpayers.
The Republican budget bill completely eliminates nearly $60 million in state support for things like sentencing, juvenile and adult probation, court staffing, drug and alcohol treatment, and county and community support services.
As well as eliminating these funds, the Republican budget also reduces support for other health, safety and wellness services for counties by more than $17 million.
Services negatively impacted by these cuts include mental and behavioral health, homeless assistance, and other services for seniors, children and people with disabilities.
Instead of making Pennsylvania a better place to live, the Republican budget would make life harder for millions of people and more expensive for communities and middle class taxpayers.
Counties count on the state to partner with them in delivering critical criminal justice, health, public safety and other services.
When the state abandons that partnership -- as Republicans do in House Bill 218 -- counties are forced to reduce services and raise local taxes while working families and small businesses pay even more for less.
More details on how the cuts in House Bill 218 would impact counties and their residents are available here and by visiting www.pacounties.org.
House Democrats will fight to pass a final state budget that restores the historical partnership between Harrisburg and county leaders to support a Pennsylvania that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.