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Top Pa. officials to get 1.7 percent pay raise – TimesObserver.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Information – The Times Observer

Top Pa. officials to get 1.7 percent pay raise – TimesObserver.com

The above link will take you to an article that I found on the front page of the TimesObserver which is the local paper for the Warren, PA area.  Before anyone starts telling me it has nothing to do with mental health, I will say those who are thinking that are partially right.  I say partially, because in the broader picture, this is something that has stroong potential for effecting folks with mental illnesses in Pennsylvania, because as many are aware, last year the state decided to decrease what the amount they paid for the state’s portion of Supplimental Security Income (SSI)  While I at the time commended legislatures on not getting a COLA increase, I am no concerned because they are slated for a 1.7% pay raise and it was just within the past few months that I saw an article in the same paper indicating that the chance of folks on Social Security getting an increase were slim at best and I believe there might have been mention of another decrease being discussed.  So those who are elderly, disabled and any other groups who happen to have a need for Social Security are at risk of not getting any kind of increase, while State government officials are most likely going to get an increase in their pay.

I feel that this is one of those times where from whee I’m sitting it seems like the state government is looking out for themselves and ignoring the fact that they have caused hardship on the more vulnerable portion of the Pennsylvania citizens.  funny how you are suppose to be working for us, but in reality especially for those of us in all aspects of the mental health community it feels like you are working against us.

“Editorial: SSI cuts are a cruel plan”

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/83227462.html

This article came from the Philadelphia Enquirer on February 1, 2010

I loved this article in more  ways then many can imagine, it is about PA’s cost of living decrease as I’ve started calling it. (oh and I broke my new rule about not including the complete article on this one, it said a lot in it’s short length.

Editorial: SSI cuts are a cruel plan

As of this week, several hundred thousand elderly poor and disabled Pennsylvanians will be nickel-and-dimed to help balance the state’s $28 billion budget.That’s wrong, and all the more unconscionable given a state budget that benefited fat cats while resorting to an expansion of casino gambling to raise revenue.

In reaching their months-late budget deal in October, Harrisburg lawmakers and Gov. Rendell necessarily nipped and tucked state spending in hundreds of other ways.

That’s not a bad thing. But the process went off the rails when it came to a decision to cut the state’s modest monthly supplement provided to nearly 350,000 poor and disabled receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks.

The aggregate savings from the cuts of $9.4 million this year and $22.9 million next year represent a pittance in overall state spending. But the monthly reductions of $5 to $10 will come from SSI recipients already trying to live on only $700 – more than 20 percent below the poverty level.

To some of the disabled – including nearly 130,000 people in Philadelphia and four surrounding counties – the SSI reductions could represent the cost of a prescription co-pay, or a transit fare to the doctor’s or grocery store. But it’s as much the harsh message the state is sending with these cuts that’s so objectionable.

Remember how lawmakers and Rendell spared natural-gas drillers from paying a new extraction tax? That levy is being collected in many of the other states where the Marcellus Shale is being tapped.

How about the decision to saddle the state with another expansion of casino gambling to raise $200 million a year? Those state winnings represent a hidden tax on many people who can least afford it.

With such skewed priorities in place, the SSI cuts appear cruel and unnecessary. Although the cutbacks are set to start today, they should be rescinded as soon as possible.

Wouldn’t you just know, the SSI reductions only came to light recently. But now that the secret is out, there’s an understandable clamor growing from advocates and some lawmakers to remedy this insult to the elderly poor and disabled.

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