Home Stretch for Disability Funding Advocacy
By Steve Suroviec, President and CEO
If you haven’t yet contacted your state representative or state senator to advocate for sufficient funding for much-needed services and programs for people with disabilities, now is the time to do it. The General Assembly has until June 30th to pass a budget for the upcoming state fiscal year (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023). Negotiations between the legislature and the governor’s office continue until an appropriations bill is passed and the governor signs it into law.
Achieva has been working with its partners at The Arc of Pennsylvania
and The Provider Alliance
to educate legislators about what’s important to people with disabilities and advocate for key funding items in the state budget. They are as follows:
- Add an additional $65 million in state funds to the governor’s proposed budget to address the staffing challenges faced by disability service providers. These state funds would generate about $70 million more in federal Medicaid funds for a total of $135 million. These funds are needed to be added to the state’s rates for home and community-based services. Given inflation and the tightness in the labor market, disability providers are finding it extremely difficult to compete for talent when it comes to filling vacancies and stemming turnover. Private-sector businesses can simply raise their prices to pay their employees more, but non-profit disability service providers are dependent on rates determined by state government. Rates need to be increased, and that’s why the General Assembly must add the additional funding to the state budget. (Click here to learn more about this issue.)
- Support the governor’s budget proposal to serve an additional 872 people with intellectual disabilities or autism from the state’s emergency waiting list.
- Support the governor’s budget proposal to add $200 million to the state’s special education budget.
- Add additional funding to increase rates for the state’s Early Intervention program for little children with developmental delays age birth to three.
- Support the funding necessary to finally close Polk Center and White Haven Center and serve its remaining residents in the community with appropriate supports and services.
Budget-making is about priority making. Children and adults with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professionals who serve them should be a priority for state budget makers. This is a core function of state government, and funding should be prioritized to meet their needs. If you haven’t contacted your state reps or senators yet, please do so and emphasize this message. With only a few weeks left to pass the budget, now is the time they need to hear from you. If you don’t know the names of your elected officials, please click here to search
by address or county.