With a pie in one hand and a list of tax loopholes in the other, Pennsylvania citizens delivered a message to state lawmakers this week — we can restore cuts that have hurt seniors, children and families without raising taxes. By closing loopholes and delaying tax cuts for corporations, lawmakers can enact a better budget.
Pie Day was hosted on Monday by Better Choices for Pennsylvania, a coalition of organizations working for a responsible state budget. Volunteer pie deliverers stopped by each lawmaker’s office to drop off a pie and a handout contrasting existing tax loopholes with funding cuts that could be restored by closing the loophole. In each case, additional revenue could help fund vital services without raising taxes.
After delivering the pies to lawmakers, several citizens gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to share their stories. One of them was Jake Fleming of Philadelphia, who said the small General Assistance benefit he received a few years ago saved his life.
General Assistance is a time-limited $205 monthly benefit that serves as a bridge for adults who are sick, disabled or completing addiction recovery programs. It also benefits children who would otherwise be in the foster care system.
And Governor Corbett is proposing to completely eliminate it in the 2012-13 budget.
Fleming was homeless and sick in 2008. After 30 years of addiction, he decided it was time to get help. General Assistance helped him get the treatment he needed.
"I’ve been clean and sober for four years now," he said at Monday's press conference. "I’m employed, I’m paying taxes, I’m supporting myself, I’m supporting my 14-year-old daughter."
Fleming said the Governor’s decision to eliminate the General Assistance program will be devastating for communities across the state.
"Homelessness will skyrocket," he said. "People seeking treatment in recovery houses and treatment programs will have nowhere to go."
Watch a half-hour video of the press conference below and hear all the stories. Then tell your lawmaker to finish that slice of pie and start working on closing tax loopholes.