Block grant reform keeps social safety net while empowering local control and improving efficiency
HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason released the following statement regarding Governor Corbett proposed reforms in the 2012-2013 budget, including the new human services block grant:
“Governor Corbett’s human services block grant proposal is an innovative and effective way to balance the need for reform while ensuring that Pennsylvania citizens’ needs are met. By removing red tape, adding discretion and returning control to the county level, Governor Corbett is looking to improve efficiency by bringing state government closer to the people while empowering local officials with the flexibility to provide the best solutions for their neediest citizens. This bill is good government and I encourage all of Pennsylvania’s legislators to support block grants.
“While states are suffering under President Obama’s economy, Governor Corbett has been able to keep Pennsylvania moving forward by confronting our Commonwealth’s problems head-on instead of kicking the can down the road. Pennsylvania’s serious problems were in need of real reforms. Governor Corbett knows that if we want to leave our children with a better Pennsylvania than we inherited, we need to rethink the way state government should operate.”
Block grant gives local governments more flexibility
Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday pressed the case for an overhaul of the way the state pays for county-run human services programs, arguing it will give local governments more flexibility at a time of increased demand and shrinking state dollars.
“The people in the local communities know their needs better than we in Harrisburg do,” Corbett said at a Capitol news conference, where he was joined by county commissioners from across the state.
The GOP administration has proposed taking seven existing human services programs and rolling them into a single block-grant program. While the programs would come in for a 10 percent cut, Corbett says local leaders could use the money more freely.
The state “must find a way to bridge the gap between funding and need,” Corbett said. The current system “forces [benefits] recipients into separate services and ties the hands of counties.”
“The system provides no flexibility and enforces rigid rules that make it hard for people to receive individualized services,” Corbett said. “We also want to lift excessive reporting requirements. We want service providers to be more focused on helping people than on the red tape. This will collapse seven funding streams into one. This means more personalized services for people in need.” (Micek, John. Corbett wants human services funding rolled into block grants. Morning Call. June 26, 2012.)
County Commissioners Back Gov. Tom Corbett’s Block Grant Approach
An agreement that would transform the way the state funds social services administered by counties has been reached between Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration and the statewide group representing county commissioners.
The agreement calls for combining seven different funding streams for different programs that counties administer into a block grant.
Starting July 1, counties would have to direct at least half of the state dollars they receive for particular services into a block grant fund. Monies in the block grant can then tapped to fund a variety of social services. At least 75 percent of their funding the next year would go into the block grant and 100 percent in 2014-15. (Murphy, Jan. Gov. Tom Corbett’s block grant approach for funding human services wins county commissioners association’s approval. Patriot News. June 5, 2012).
Berks County commissioner joins push for block grant proposal
Berks County Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach joined Gov. Tom Corbett at a press conference Monday in Harrisburg to push for a proposal that would change the way counties receive funding for social services.
Corbett wants to consolidate seven streams of funding for certain services into block grants to give counties more flexibility in the services they provide and cut costs by reducing the red tape attached to seven separate programs. (Young, Mary. Berks County commissioner joins push for block grant proposal. Reading Eagle. June 26, 2012.)