After 50 years of addiction, William Sanders has begun to turn his life around. In March, Pennsylvania cut his SSI disability benefits by $5 per month. For some, this cut would be insignificant. But as he said at a rally in Harrisburg last week, for him it means he’ll be unable to afford necessities like toilet paper.
CLS participated in a day-long legislative push last week organized by Resources for Human Development and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition to tell our legislators that Pennsylvania needs to take a balanced approach in dealing with the budget crisis, that includes common sense revenue enhancements. William is an example of the real-life people behind the numbers.
An approach to Pennsylvania’s budget crisis that relies solely on cuts to essential services to vulnerable Pennsylvania families that includes many CLS clients is wrongheaded and, over the long run, economically unwise. Cuts to adults and children with disabilities, people suffering from mental illness, people without homes, and people living in poverty, burdens members of our community and threatens the ability of service organizations to provide for clients in need.
A balanced approach to the budget in this economically challenging time should include:
- Taxing smokeless tobacco and cigars
- Placing a levy on the natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale
- Closing corporate tax loopholes
- Modernizing the sales tax to eliminate the sales tax vendor discount
In addition, Pennsylvania legislators ought to anticipate the reduction of federal stimulus funds next year by creating a Stimulus Transition Relief Fund with some of the increased revenue generated by these proposals. This fund will help avert an even bigger budget crisis and larger cuts to essential services in the coming years
In these difficult economic times, it is essential that CLS clients and other vulnerable members of our community do not bear the brunt of closing the budget deficit.