The Pennsylvania state budget is still under consideration of the PA Senate. A quick recap – the Governor proposed a budget with level funding for the 4 line items that affect libraries directly. Then the PA House of Representatives moved very quickly to pass House Bill 218 which reduced two of the four lines. Despite the quick move by the House, the Senate has not rushed to any decisions.
The general consensus is that a budget will be completed on time before July 1, 2017 because next year is a big election year and legislators don’t want to have a budget impasse on their record right before the election. Key points that the Senate is considering:
1. Revenue numbers for the current year are well below predictions. April was not a good revenue month. The upcoming release of May’s revenue results could have a strong impact on the Senate’s decision. If revenue continues to falter, the Senate may make more cuts.
2. There is no plan for broad-based personal income tax increases. New revenue for 2017-18 may include expanded gaming, and specialized taxes such as a soda tax similar to the Philadelphia soda tax. Unfortunately, these taxes are not expected to generate enough revenue to cover the gaps in the budget.
With revenue so low – yes, more cuts are possible to the budget. Right now, we are encouraging all library supporters to contact their PA Senators with the message – “Please don’t cut libraries any further, and please restore the $461,000 to have level funding for the Library Access line.”
The Library Access line includes: Interlibrary Delivery Service (IDS) which makes interlibrary loan possible, statewide catalog – that includes the holdings of more than 2500 public, school, academic and special libraries, Power Library access to electronic resources that benefit not only public libraries but school libraries too.
The most influential Senators in this process and for libraries are Senator Pat Brown, Appropriations Chair; Senator John Eichelberger, Education Chair; Senator Jake Corman, Majority Leader; and Senator Joe Scarnati, President Pro Tempore. For those people who are constituents of these senators – please take a moment to contact their offices – THIS WEEK – and tell them “Please don’t cut libraries any further!”
ALL of us need to call, email, and visit our PA Senators offices. Show them the great things your library is doing – and how we help move PA Forward, IF we have the proper funding. The final budget needs our help to keep libraries strong.
PS - Here's a link to find your PA Senators: CLICK Here to find your Senator
Thanks for your engagement - it is certainly easier when we each do a little bit!
Christi Buker | Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association | 220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10 | Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717.766.7663 – office