Does a Pa. House resolution target angry non-profits?

Pennsylvania non-profits that provide services to people with disabilities and addiction problems are coming under scrutiny from the legislature, as Pennsylvania’s House budget committee orders a study of state contracts with those groups.

The organizations in question believe they’re being targeted for their vocal opposition to budget cuts.

The house resolution calls for a review of the non-profits’ executive compensation, administrative, and lobbying expenses.

“We support transparency. That is not the issue. This is selective accountability,” said Debbie Plotnick, Director of Advocacy at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. She says state money goes to lots of organizations, including hospitals and nursing homes.

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“It’s not hard to feel that this is directed towards certain organizations,” she adds. “It targets only organizations that provide mental health, substance abuse, and disability services.”

State Representative Pam DeLissio, a Democrat, believes the resolution was motivated by politics.

“I heard from my own colleagues in caucus and a rep colleague that this was nothing more than kind of retribution because the staff and clients of these service providers were advocating on behalf of themselves and their agencies over a prolonged period of time leading up to the final passage of the budget.”

The state representative who introduced the bill, Republican Scott Petri from Bucks County, stated the bill was meant to help organizations figure out how to deliver the same services with their now smaller budgets.

“You know this is supposed to be a shared pain circumstance in an economy like this. We all expect that everybody does their part, and so we need to figure out if that is really occurring.”

When asked if these groups are being targeted for being outspoken, Petri responded, “It’s the first time I’m hearing that accusation.

“I don’t know how it targets somebody when it includes anybody.”

A report is due to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on April 1, 2013.

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