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Politics & Government

Grandparents Urge Lawmakers To Pass Budget 'For Kids' Sake'

Deanna Garcia
90.5 WESA

Now seven weeks late, state budget negotiations have prompted rallies and protests by community groups, non-profit organizations, service providers and citizens all imploring Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to come to a consensus.

The Grandparents Support Group added their voice to the mix Tuesday at a gathering outside East Hills-based A Second Chance Inc., an agency that serves children being cared for by relatives or family friends.

“We cannot do anything, not unless the budget is passed. Our children are our future – no budget, no future,” said Shirley Pinnock, a grandmother from Wilkinsburg.

Without vital government support, Second Chance and similar organizations have had to borrow money or put programs on hold, or will have to do so soon. Pinnock was one of many grandparents holding signs and calling on lawmakers to act on the budget for the sake of the state’s children Tuesday.

Second Chance Community Liaison Bishop David Brock said that while lawmakers fail to pass a budget, they are still getting paid.

“And the agencies and families are suffering while they’re still getting their paycheck and they have no onus, and they have no reason to pass the budget," Brock said. "They’re trying to make sure their little accolade or the little thing that they want in the budget, or is hidden in the pages of the budget, gets in.”

Brock said that without a budget, families who depend on services will be affected, as will employees of service agencies. Many families are one paycheck away from homelessness, he said.

“That paycheck makes a difference whether a meal is had, whether services are provided, whether gasoline is in the car to get to an appointment,” he said. “While (lawmakers are) sitting there on their seats of do-nothing, we have families that are falling by the wayside.”

The state’s new fiscal year began July 1 with no budget in place, so service providers will not get August payments. Lawmakers are hung up on a natural gas severance tax and pensions, among other issues. Budget talks are ongoing.