Although State Rep. Pamela DeLissio, (D-Phila./Montgomery) voted against Pennsylvania’s budget proposal, which was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett last week, the conversation continues.
DeLissio plans to hold three town hall meetings this summer, starting July 12, to address the state budget and share her experiences and impressions since taking office.
She decided to vote against the state budget proposal after reviewing it and finding it “short-sighted.” DeLissio said she felt there was little explanation from Gov. Corbett and the House Republicans.
She was also dissatisfied with the time allotted for state representatives to reach a decision. “It’s pretty irresponsible; we only got less than 30 hours,” she said.
DeLissio discussed that although some dollars were restored, she didn’t know how many “real dollars” would be saved as a consequence of the cuts.
“I find we’ll lose more money not less. Those cuts to education mean we have a less prepared workforce, a group of students less prepared to go onto secondary education,” she said.
DeLissio spoke on the House floor regarding her frustrations regarding education.
“I am disturbed by the accounting maneuvers that ensure that the spend number would not exceed the governor’s $27.3 billion limit,” she told House members.
“The constituents of the 194th District know how to add, even though their kids may find it difficult to learn to add due to the education budget cuts,” she said.
Part of her reason for holding the town hall meetings is due to her concerns regarding the budget’s “misplaced priorities.”
Education is a first priority, DeLissio said. Under the budget, public education receives about $1.5 billion in education sector cuts and more than 50-percent in cuts for state-owned and funded four-year colleges. Constituents have shared large concerns about education budget cuts through e-mails and phone calls, DeLissio said.
Arts and culture budget cuts were initially another big concern for constituents after the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts 2012 program budget was cut 70-percent by the State House of Representatives. The Senate later restored a majority of the funding in its amended budget, bringing the council’s total budget to $9.14 million. Corbett had proposed $9.2 million. The Governor — whose wife chairs the PCA — decided not to cut PCA’s budget, which led the House GOP to make cuts instead.
Cuts to human services have also caused a stir among constituents, according to DeLissio. She reminds the public that grassroots efforts can be very powerful regarding many issues.
“Republicans decided they know better,” she said, adding people in charge have the idea,“let the chips fall where they may.”
DeLissio also mentioned her frustration with the consolidation of line items and the affiliated cuts not detailing which aspects of the consolidated programs are affected.
The Department of Community and Economic Development has 126 programs consolidated to less than half. “I’m not criticizing the consolidation,” she said, clarifying that she is instead criticizing the fact there is a lack of detail and information in the budget document.
The town hall meetings will be held at 7 p.m. July 12 at the John Anderson Cultural Center; 7 p.m. July 13 at the Wolcoff Auditorium in Roxborough Memorial Hospital and 7 p.m. July 14 at The Conservatory of Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Children are welcome. For more information, call 215-482-8726 or 215-879-8533.
DeLissio’s legislative district includes portions of Lower Merion Township and the 21st, 38th and 52nd wards in Philadelphia.