before the Pennsylvania General Assembly on February 4, Governor Tom Corbett
unveiled his budget plan for Fiscal Year 2014-15. His budget would spend
about $29.4 million, an increase of about 3.3% overall. Some parts of the revenue side of his plan
are viewed as controversial and may face an uphill climb in the
libraries, funding for library line items remains stable if not modestly
improved. The total
amount proposed all library programs in Governor Corbett’s budget is $61.3
million up modestly from this year’s total amount of $61.1 million. Specifically,
here’s what the Governor proposes for library programs for next year:
$54,007,000 Public Library
Subsidy ( up $500,000 / + 1%
2,821,000 Library Access (
down $250,000 / - 8% )
2,567,000 Library Services for the Visually Impaired and Disabled /
( level-funded )
1,938,000 Office of Commonwealth Libraries ( down $19,000 /
- 1% )
So taken together, the Governor’s budget would increase library funding
at the state level by a net of $231,000 over this current year’s budget. For the Public Library Subsidy, although it
is a modest increase, nevertheless it represents the first time a governor has
proposed any increase in the subsidy since 2007.
Here’s the bottom line for right now.
In the coming days, PaLA’s Legislative Committee, government relations
advisors, and board leaders will agree on a strategy to build on the plan put
forth by Governor Corbett. Recognizing
that the political environment in Harrisburg remains largely unreceptive to
requests for increased spending, PaLA believes that an ambitious approach
targeted at improved access to library services could succeed.
It’s an election year and the governor’s budget always represents the
starting point. While it is positive to
see our overall budget line going up instead of down, clearly we have work
ahead of us. With the economy
improving—slowly but surely—and demand for library services greater than ever,
this election year is an opportune time to press our elected officials to
support improved access to all that libraries provide.
Thank you for your membership and strong support for all of PaLA’s
advocacy efforts. Stay tuned for more
specific details about PaLA’s strategy along with some important actions you
can take to start us down the path to success.