Bullock, Nelson, PLBC send letter regarding budget equity to Gov. Wolf

HARRISBURG, Jan. 22 –State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, state Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery, chairman of the caucus’ subcommittee on budget equity, and members of the PLBC sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf today to address budget inequities in Pennsylvania and urged him to take corrective measures in his upcoming budget address for the 2021-22 legislative session.

“The Pennsylvania state budget is a valuable measure of our commonwealth’s priorities and can be our best tool for racial and structural equity. Unfortunately, the budget sometimes adversely, even if unintentionally,” impacts Pennsylvania’s Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, according to the letter.

“We want the governor to know we support initiatives he may take to address racial inequities in budget funding and priorities,” Bullock said. “But we also want him to understand that we expect a bold vision for the 2021-22 legislative session in order to correct those inequities and bring necessary changes to processes that continue to short-change our communities of color at a very disproportionate rate.”

The letter goes on to say those inequities were even more evident during the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn that was a result of the pandemic.

“If we’ve learned nothing in the last year of living in a global pandemic,” Bullock said, “it is that the misalignments and distorted priorities that have been set over many years continue to plague BIPOC communities and we cannot let up on our pressure to see our way to a fairer structure so all Pennsylvanians can be lifted from our current situation and prosper.”

"The concerns and ills that have plagued communities of color and under-served communities in this commonwealth have been plaguing those communities not just since the pandemic, but for years," Nelson said. "It's time we address them and work to make our communities whole. We need to think about the budget and how the state is utilizing its resources going forward in a way that ensures our tomorrows aren't going to look exactly as our yesterdays did. Because, for too many of us, our yesterdays were bleak. They were not fair, they were not just, and there was no equity. We need Governor Wolf to understand that, to internalize that, and then to speak it to the rest of the commonwealth."