As another Pa. budget deadline looms, nonprofits hope it won’t be déjà vu

As another Pa. budget deadline looms, nonprofits hope it won’t be déjà vu

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All told, the survey counted 17,100 people who were turned away or received reduced services during the nine-month stalemate.

"I think the compelling piece of that is these were 17,000 clients that were served by only 22 organizations," said Anne Gingerich, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations. "If more people had participated in the survey, then that number would only increase."

Organizations also reported taking out loans, tapping reserves and delaying vendor payments to the tune of $172 million. Some organizations owe more than $530,000 in interest collectively. While Gov. Tom Wolf attempted to introduce a provision to defray that interest, it did not appear in the final budget, which became law.

Even when the state began to pay out funds in December, nonprofits went from famine to feast and struggled to spend a year's worth of money in six months or less.

"Otherwise, it looks like they didn't need those dollars to begin with," said Gingerich. Some agencies reported they are negotiating an extension of their contracts with the Department of Human Services, so they have more time to spend down those dollars or risk losing them.

Lawmakers can do something to make sure this doesn't happen again, she said: Pass a budget. "It sounds like a simple thing to ask, but it's pretty critical."

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