$27.7 billion budget moves toward final vote in Pa.

    Now that lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House have endorsed a Republican-negotiated $27.7 billion budget, the spending plan will move to the state Senate for a final vote.

    Amid a planned 10 percent cut to county-run human services programs, House lawmakers are touting a more than $17 million bump in spending to take people off a waiting list for services for the intellectually disabled.

    But Maureen Cronin, who heads the Arc of Pennsylvania advocacy group, says that won’t offset cuts elsewhere to intellectually disabled programs.

    “While it’s excellent to see money set aside for persons on the emergency waiting list and for the 700 students who are graduating from special education, it doesn’t make up for the cuts to community base services, which are the services that fill in the gaps,” Cronin said Thursday.

    Cronin says the entire waiting list for employment, housing, and care-giving services for the intellectually disabled stands at more than 15,000 people.

    The approved funding increase will help about 1,100 people.

    The full Senate plans to take up the budget bill Friday.

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