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May 05, 2011

Pennsylvania Retirees Urge Legislature to defy Governor Corbett and use the state’s surplus to offset Budget Cuts

For Immediate Release  

May 5th, 2011          

Pennsylvania Retirees Urge Legislature to defy Governor Corbett and use the state’s surplus to offset Budget Cuts

The money could go to restoring cuts to Education and Health Care that would otherwise hurt seniors

Jean Friday, President of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, released the following statement about recent revelations by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue that the state will have approximately $500 Million dollars more at the end of this fiscal year than originally anticipated:

“This week, Pennsylvania received great news!  As we struggle through a very difficult budget season, the Department of Revenue gave us reason to hope that we will reach a positive solution.  As the Governor, Legislature and countless outside groups all debate how to cut costs and raise revenues to balance next year’s budget, anyone would welcome the news that an extra half-billion dollars will be available – everyone except Governor Corbett, of course!

Despite the fact that this money could be used to offset cuts to important programs, the Governor has inexplicably stated that he will not approve a budget that spends more than his original proposal.  This head-in-the-sand approach to budgeting really makes one wonder whether the Governor understands how his budget cuts would impact average Pennsylvanians.  If he understood, how could he take the position that we should make these cuts while hundreds of millions of dollars sit in the state’s coffers?

“Seniors in Pennsylvania have much to lose in Governor Corbett’s budget.  First of all, seniors on fixed incomes will struggle to stay in their homes as his proposed cuts to public schools force local school boards to raise property taxes.  With the housing market as it is, many seniors will find themselves living in a home that they can’t afford but also can’t sell.  This is all in addition to the fact that many seniors have neighbors, grandchildren and great nieces and nephews who attend these schools, who will see their education suffer as a result of these cuts.

Furthermore, the Governor’s budget makes cuts to Medicaid that will hurt seniors in nursing homes.  After all, a majority of Medicaid enrollees are seniors.  For example, seniors on Medicaid will no longer receive coverage for dentures, and they will also be restricted in the number of prescriptions they can order per month.  Seniors in nursing homes ought to get dentures when they need them, and be able to take all the prescriptions that their doctor recommends.

Finally, seniors do care about the communities where they live.  Cuts to environmental protection, conservation and agriculture will hurt children, adults and seniors alike if they result in water, air and recreational spaces that are less clean.

“On behalf of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans’ 300,000 members and 140 Affiliates, as well as all seniors across the commonwealth, I call upon our State Legislators to adopt a budget that spends all the money available to offset proposed cuts that would force seniors from their homes, damage seniors’ health care and hurt the communities in which seniors live.  Furthermore, I would call upon them to explore other options to increase revenue, such as Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction and closing of the Delaware Loophole and other corporate tax dodge strategies.  Combined with waste-cutting measures, I’m sure we can arrive at a balanced state budget that doesn’t raise sales or income taxes, but also doesn’t harm seniors.  It’s now up to House and Senate members to do the right thing, and hopefully help the Governor to see reason.”

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