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Politics & Government

Nonprofits Urged to Prepare for State Budget Delay

Pittsburgh area nonprofits that receive state funding are being warned to prepare for a long budget delay.

Kate Dewey is president of The Forbes Funds, the host organization for the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, which offers an array of services to assist nonprofits throughout the region. Dewey said the partnership is recommending several steps nonprofits can take to ensure their long-term stability.

“For instance…talking to your bank about your line of credit and seeing if you could get it extended a little bit,” Dewey said. “Secondly, is that to make sure that any kind of marginal purchase that could be delayed was delayed.”

She said nonprofits need to prepare for all scenarios, including ones in which a new budget includes cuts in funding.

If the budget delay continues, nonprofits will not likely start to feel the effects until next month, according to Dewey.

“Organizations that may not have gone into significant preparedness and are reliant on a current state contract, they’re going to begin to feel some of the pinch by early August,” she said. “The majority of organizations though, we think that the squeeze will happen toward the end of August.”

She said the pinch could be felt when routine repairs are needed, such as being unable to afford to fix a leaky roof, or it could be felt through decline of service quality.

“They are not able to maintain the level of service that they had been before,” she said, “and so they either turn people away, and/or the individuals don’t get the quite the complement of service as they may have been historically used to.”

The last major budget delay occurred in 2009, when the budget was signed 101 days late, and some nonprofits are still seeing consequences from it, according to Dewey.

“Some of those organizations have never recovered,” she said. “So, there is some long term consequence to organizations that are pretty fragilely capitalized to begin with.”

The state budget includes funding for various services such as homeless assistance, domestic violence programs and youth suicide prevention.