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Advocacy

Personal experience with mental illness and navigating the mental health system makes family members and people with mental illness uniquely qualified to both educate elected officials on issues of importance and advocate for the policies and funding necessary to provide services that are essential to people with mental illness.  Click here for tips on effective strategies for NAMI families to get involved in advocacy efforts.  Click here to find your local, state, and national legislators.

APRIL 28 CALL IN FOR MENTAL HEALTH

In 2012, the Pennsylvania General Assembly cut $84 million from the human services block grant. These cuts resulted in the loss of some needed community-based mental health services, creating barriers to care and increased use of crisis services.

This year, Governor Wolf has proposed restoring these cuts! The Governor has proposed a 3 year restoration beginning this budget season with an additional $28 million! (Additional information given below.)

The General Assembly still needs to approve this funding in the budget. Please join our call-in day on April 28. Call, Facebook message, or tweet your State Senator and Representative and ask them to support the partial restoration of the human services block grant funds to provide for much-needed services in our community.

Find your legislator and their contact information by clicking here:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/

Thank you for joining us on April 28 to fight for mental health services in our communities!

The 2015 Budget

On March 3, Governor Tom Wolf released his first Pennsylvania State Budget for consideration by the General Assembly. This is the first step in the months-long ‘budget season’ in Harrisburg which will culminate in a finalized state budget on or before July 1,2015.

Governor Wolf proposes to increase both revenue and spending to the state, which will benefit human services and education in Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf’s budget includes restoration funds for mental health block grant services, increased mental health funding, and increased funding to County Assistance Offices.

With new revenue, Governor Wolf proposes to increase Human Services funding by about 6 percent overall, including:

A 7 percent increase to chronically underfunded County Assistance Offices (CAOs). CAO underfunding has traditionally led to delays in people getting benefits and connected to services.

A 7.5 percent increase in Mental Health Services, with a multi-year commitment to restore the 10 percent cut from the budget in 2012.

A 9.5 percent increase in Behavioral Health Services

New revenues include:

Raising the sales tax from 6 percent to 6.6 percent

Instituting a 5 percent severance tax on shale and natural gas

Changing both the corporate tax rate, and how corporations calculate the tax they owe to the state which will lower the corporate rate, but broaden the degree to which companies pay taxes.

We are encouraged by the Governor’s proposals, but we recognize that the budget is a complex process, involving both chambers of the General Assembly, which is dependent to a degree on the revenue collections that will be reported in April and May.

Securing Human Services increases in the budget will require consistent advocacy by the Take 5 community over the next few months, and we hope that you’ll take part by exploring opportunities to travel as Peer Advocacy Fellows to Harrisburg in the coming months

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