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Philadelphia Officials Warn State Cuts Will Decimate Mental Health Services Here

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Nutter administration today put a dollar figure on the impact to the city of Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

And officials are warning of huge reductions in mental health services in the city.

Philadelphia finance director Rob Dubow, the mayor’s top numbers cruncher, says the proposed state budget will cost the City of Philadelphia just under $41 million — $40,944,000, to be exact.

The bulk of that is a $33-million cut in state funding to the city’s Department of Behavioral Health, which could impact a variety of programs including those for the homeless.

And the Department of Human Services faces a $6½-million shortfall.

Dubow says  these areas are already stretched thin:

“The big issue for us is that we’ve been through years and years of cutting,” Dubow tells KYW Newsradio.  “So every year there’s less and less we can do to react to new cuts.  So these are very damaging cuts.”

View the City of Philadelphia’s Powerpoint presentation on the state budget cuts (.ppt format)

Dr. Donald Schwarz, the deputy mayor for health and opportunity, says he is worried on a number of fronts.

“Mental health services and support services for people who have intellectual disabilities are going to go away,” he said. “This is a 20-percent cut to core funding for people who are very vulnerable.  And there isn’t a way for the city to absorb that kind of cut.  The state is the one that is responsible for funding those services, so it’s a big-deal cut.”

Schwarz says he has “not seen anything like this before.”  And Dubow points out that the $41 million in cuts is to the city’s own budget: other cuts are coming to the school district, Community College of Philadelphia, and Temple University.

Read the KYW Regional Affairs Council report, “Princes & Paupers: The Income Gap At Work”

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  • As Philadelphia Eyes State Budget Cuts Ahead, Question of City Tax Hike Looms « CBS Philly

    […] Aides to the mayor estimate the impact of the state cuts on the city at more than $40 million (see related story). […]

  • Cleanup Philly

    According to a recent article in the Inquirer, the city is owed $465 million in overdue property taxes. The city claims that this money can’t be collected yet the real estate market is doing well in most of the city.

    Of course these delinquent properties can be sold at sheriff sale. The cuts must not be that bad if Philly is not going to get serious about collecting property taxes.

    What other county in PA even does this, let’s properties owe tens of thousands in property taxes for years at a time? None. Only Philly.

    Property tax payment is effectively optional in Philly. Is the state going to fall for letting Philly pass costs it can pay for on to state taxpayers?

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