Pa. service providers face tough decisions if budget stalemate drags on

     Without an approved spending plan, Pennsylvania cannot pay contractors, including the nonprofits that carry out the myriad services of the social safety net.(<a href=Photo via ShutterStock) " title="shutterstock_184908332" width="640" height="360"/>

    Without an approved spending plan, Pennsylvania cannot pay contractors, including the nonprofits that carry out the myriad services of the social safety net.(Photo via ShutterStock)

    Nonprofit organizations that receive funding from Pennsylvania are preparing to make some difficult decisions if the commonwealth budget stalemate stretches through August.

    The state entered the new fiscal year in July without an approved spending plan, which means the commonwealth lost the authority to pay contractors, including the nonprofits that carry out the myriad services of the social safety net.

    The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg is one such contractor, offering state-subsidized day care, a rape crisis program, and a shelter for women fleeing domestic violence.

    A quarter of the organization’s roughly $6 million annual budget comes from the state, according to Interim CEO Mary Quinn. And a lack of state funding through August would force the YWCA to use its line of credit, she said, which could only take the nonprofit through one payroll cycle.

    “After that point, we start accruing interest, and we would have to look at what essential services we provide that we cannot not provide,” said Quinn.

    Certain mandated programs cannot be shut down — namely, emergency services for women fleeing an abuser.

    “We can’t walk away from that contractually or morally,” Quinn said. “So we would meet our obligation there even without the means. Whether that means certain staff such as myself being here without being paid — that’s just what would have to happen.”

    Other nonprofits are highlighting their concerns as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature continue their standoff.

    In western Pennsylvania, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership says failure to make a deal could disrupt foster care, services for the mentally ill, and supports for people with substance abuse problems.

    In a written statement late last week, the group’s executive director Samantha Balbier chided lawmakers for the “lack of progress in Harrisburg on passing a budget.”

    “Now,” said Balbier, “is the time for lawmakers to compromise.”

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