Rep. Curt Schroder
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HARRISBURG – As the governor and legislative leaders continue discussions about budget cuts necessitated by the reduction in expected federal Medicaid assistance (FMAP) funding, Rep. Curt Schroder (R-East Brandywine) and 26 fellow Republican lawmakers said that discretionary grant funding known as WAMs should be the first thing to go.
“WAMs shouldn’t have been included in this budget in the first place. They are unessential and take money away from necessary state functions,” Schroder said. “The $850 million the governor hoped to receive in FMAP funds also shouldn’t have been counted on to balance the budget. It was irresponsible, and I voted against the budget because of it, knowing we would soon be in the position of having to make cuts.”
In a letter to the governor this week, the lawmakers called for the elimination of WAMs in response to recent action in the U.S. Senate that indicates the state will get $255 million less in FMAP money than the governor anticipated.
“Despite the fact we don’t have to make the full $850 million in cuts, the first thing I hear the governor and lawmakers are talking about cutting is education funding, and that is just wrong,” Schroder said. “There is in the vicinity of $100 million worth of WAMs in this budget and they absolutely, positively must be the first thing to go.”
Schroder specifically identified the WAM line items in the budget as follows:
- Local Government Resources and Development — $6 million.
- Urban Development — $10.56 million.
- Community and Business Assistance — $9 million.
- Economic Growth and Development Assistance — $3.1 million.
- Community and Municipal Facilities Assistance — $3 million.
- Regional Development Initiative — $3 million.
- Cultural Activities — $2.4 million.
- Community and Regional Development — $4.16 million.
- Tourism Accredited Zoos — $500,000.
- Digital and Robotic Technology — $196,000.
- Opportunity Grant Program — $17.8 million.
- Customized Job Training — $8.66 million.
- Community Conservation and Employment — $24.2 million.
- Community Action Team — $295,000.
In early July, as part of the state budget process, Schroder attempted to offer an amendment to the state’s Fiscal Code requiring WAMs included in the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) budget to be the first things cut in the event Congress did not deliver the FMAP money.
The measure was defeated by House Democrats.
“When red ink drips off every page of the budget, it is inexcusable to have legislative play money to the tune of $100 million in the budget,” Schroder said. “I call on the governor to do the right thing and eliminate this unnecessary funding first, before cutting other areas.”
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