Pennsylvania budget impasse hits more than 1,200 non-profit workers

Pennsylvania budget impasse hits more than 1,200 non-profit workers
Provided/ Maura B. McConnell

More than 1,200 workers at non-profits have lost pay, benefits or their jobs because of the state budget impasse, according to a new report from theUnited Way of Pennsylvania.

The GOP-dominated state legislature has been at odds with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf since missing a deadline to pass a budget by June 30.

The impasse has left charities that provide services to children, low-income families and people with disabilities scrambling to pay for services they perform under state government contracts.

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According to the United Way’s survey, 45 full-time and 50 part-time workers have been laid off or furloughed. More than 520 workers have had their hours reduced, 73 are working without pay and 510 have lost access to employee benefits.

The organization surveyed 282 charities that serve more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians, but it’s findings may understate the depth of cutbacks because that represents just a fraction of the social service agencies across the state.

According to the study, more than 40 agencies will be forced to make cutbacks if a deal isn’t reached by the end of December.

Leaders of social service agencies across the state have said they’ve been forced to borrow money from banks to keep their organizations running. Most agencies expect to be reimbursed for the services they provide, but they worry that borrowing could put strain on their organization because interest costs may not be paid by the state.

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Relief may not be far away.

Wolf and GOP leaders on Monday signaled that they are close to a budget deal that includes a sales tax increase. The deal also included provisions for property tax relief and increased cash for schools, PennLive reported.

Legislative leaders to PennLive that a vote on the deal is weeks away.