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"No budget, no break"

Community leaders call on state Legislature to keep working until a budget is passed

Nothing is coming up roses at the Capitol, where the Republican-controlled state Legislature is poised to take a two-week session break.
Nothing is coming up roses at the Capitol, where the Republican-controlled state Legislature is poised to take a two-week session break.Read moreMATT ROURKE / AP

TALK ABOUT FIDDLING while Rome is burning.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature is poised to take a two-week session break. (Perhaps to get some rest before a fresh round of budgetary inertia.)

"It doesn't make any sense for the Legislature to be on break while services are being cut in the neighborhoods," Democratic state Sen. Art Haywood said after a news conference yesterday at Center in the Park in Germantown, where dozens of senior citizens held up signs and chanted, "No budget, no break."

Leaders of Women Against Abuse and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging - two social service agencies that rely on state grants to help fund programs that help victims of domestic violence and the elderly - joined Haywood to speak out against a legislative recess in the midst of the budget impasse.

Haywood warned that senior centers and community groups that provide meals for the poor are in danger of closing and "women who have been beaten and raped and assaulted" might be turned away.

"For the individuals who are going to the senior centers and who next week won't get a meal - that's dire," Haywood said. "For a person, who in a week or two, not today, but in a week or two, may not be able to get domestic-violence prevention services - that is dire."

Governor Wolf and GOP legislators remain at loggerheads over a proposed $30.2 billion spending plan. Wolf vetoed the plan on June 30, leaving the state without a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. That means that millions of dollars in state grants and funds are being held hostage. Social service organizations across the city are feeling the trickle-down squeeze.

"We need to vote 'no' on a motion to recess and get everyone to stay in," Haywood said, referring to a routine scheduled break that would go from Oct. 28 through Nov. 16. "And then we need to stay in session until we reach an agreement . . . we can't go home while our citizens are suffering at home."

The Senate is expected to take up the motion to recess next week, Haywood said.

On Twitter: @wendyruderman

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