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Governor Rendell Discusses Impact of Budget on Services for Families of Children With Autism
Date:6/20/2009

BRYN MAWR, Pa., June 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today met with families in southeastern Pennsylvania to discuss what is at stake in the proposed state budget as it relates to autism services. An estimated 25,000 Pennsylvania children and adults live with an autism spectrum disorder.

"Pennsylvania has worked hard and made great progress for families who rely on services that their children need," said Governor Rendell during an event at Bryn Mawr College. "Funding for these services is now being threatened. The budget proposed by Senate Republicans would cut funding for autism by nearly $8 million, which means cutting services and support to nearly 250 families."

Governor Rendell recognized there is no sustainable, fiscally responsible solution to Pennsylvania's budget challenge without new revenue. He rebuffed demands by the Senate to pass a budget riddled with draconian cuts that would do further damage to Pennsylvania's programs that protect the health and well-being of vulnerable families.

Governor Rendell recently proposed a temporary increase in Pennsylvania's personal income tax - currently the second lowest in the nation - and a temporary delay in the phase-out of the Capital Stock & Franchise Tax. Coupled with hundreds of budget reductions Governor Rendell has already implemented, these steps are critical in addressing a projected $3.2 billion budget shortfall. The Governor went on to warn that without additional revenue, Pennsylvania's overall economy could worsen.

"Families of children with autism understand the severity of the budget situation we're facing. There is no need to convince them that the Senate's proposed cuts are a bad idea," said the Governor. "Spending is not just about dollars but about programs that affect the lives of real people. We cannot allow decisions to be made that gut programs and shortchange the future of our children and their families."

"If we want to ensure that these essential programs and services are available to our children as they grow up, the drastic cuts proposed in the Senate Republican budget are not the answer," the Governor said. "We must fix this problem now, while preserving the vital services that protect the commonwealth in the present and that are crucial to setting the stage for our future."

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his newsletter, visit www.governor.state.pa.us.

    CONTACT: Chuck Ardo
    717-783-1116

    Stacey Witalec
    717-215-5948 (cell)


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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