Press Release: Lehigh Valley Fair Budget Coalition will host a Legislative Forum on April 13, 2012 at 1 PM.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Lehigh Valley Fair Budget Coalition will hold a hearing at which invited state legislators will hear the concerns of constituents who have been receiving services but are at risk of losing those services due to proposed budget cuts to critical state programs.  The event will take place on Friday, April 13, 2012, at 1 PM at Northampton Community College’s Fowler Family Southside Center, located at 511 East Third Street in Bethlehem.  PA Representatives Steve Samuelson, Joe Brennan and Bob Freeman, and PA Senator Lisa Boscola have committed to attend the event.   

Governor Corbett’s proposed budget for 2012-2013 slashes education, human services, and community and economic development programs that help individuals become self-sufficient and are essential elements of a thriving community. 

If the Governor’s proposed budget passes, the Commonwealth will spend twice the amount on prisons than on higher education in fiscal year 2012-2013.  With this budget, every gain in school funding enacted by the General Assembly over the past decade will be wiped out over the course of just two years.  Several lines in the Department of Public Welfare budget that provide crucial services to the most vulnerable among us were cut by 20% and were then repackaged into the new Human Services Development Fund block grant.  General Fund support for the Department of Community and Economic Development was cut 35% since 2010-2011 and 65% since 2007-2008.

Organizers of the forum believe severe cuts to any one of these programs will impact the greater community and stand united for a fair and balanced budget.   

The Lehigh Valley Fair Budget Coalition is an informal alliance of non-profits and local government organized to challenge the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s dangerous reductions in spending on programs that enhance the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

For more information please contact:  

Alan Jennings
610-691-5620
www.caclv.org

8 Comments

  1. Doc Rock

    Will you be discussing the millions and millions of dollars being diverted from your programs to your multi-millionaire friends in the NIZ, Alan? Will you discuss the lost money for children’s health programs from the tobacco tax that Joe Topper and JB Reilly will be receiving instead, Alan?

    Just how much money, in total, is being diverted to the NIZ multi-millionaire pals of Alan Jennings? And for how long?

    Just curious.

  2. Alan Jennings

    Hi, “Doc Rock,” whoever you are –

    We’re happy to give you this platform to launch a personal attack on my character.

    So, are you really suggesting that we oppose improving Allentown’s tax base, pass on an opportunity to bring thousands of people downtown where they might spend some money, reject the creation of thousands of jobs (that will also inure to the benefit of folks outside the city), bail on vendor opportunities for local businesses? And you think that Harrisburg is going to change the eligibility requirements for participation in CHIP just for Allentown’s residents because the state is using some of this revenue to support economic development? Really?

    How about this: come out of the shadow of protection your nom de web gives you, tell us who you are and cite the credentials that give you the information you purport to be fact, and let’s go from silliness and personal attacks to an honest discussion of the issue. What are YOUR interests in sealing the fate of Allentown by killing the NIZ?

    And, just to be clear, you think I should not work with people in positions of influence who can help me solve serious community problems?

    I think I’ll pass on your advice, preferring real problem-solving efforts.

    Alan

  3. Bernie O'Hare

    Although the commenter is anonymous, it’s no personal attack. It’s a legitimate and fair criticism of your willingness to be a cheerleader for millionaires who are depleting the state of the very resources needed to help the people you champion. I was unaware that it was your job to help bring thousands of people to downtown Allentown. I thought that was a function of economic development. As far the “thousands” of jobs, where’s the living wage requirement, Alan? Where’s the clawback in the event that these promises don’t an out?

    Right now, we have a NIZ taht is sucking the LV dry for the benefit of multimillionaires, and you are on the bandwagon, hoping they throw you a bone. You have already engaged in Sunshine Act violations with your pals.

    And what happens when crime targets the very people you serve because police are to busy ensuring the safety of the rich folk at the hockey arena. You must know that substantial (already understaffed) APD resources would be diverted to the NIZ at the expense of neighborhoods where crime is a problem.

  4. Alan Jennings

    Come on, Bernie, give me a freakin’ break. Are you really trashing 30 years of raising hell in this community because you disagree with me on the need for extraordinarily aggressive effort to keep Allentown from dying? You know full well that that is what’s at stake. Poor folks won’t be better off if Allentown goes down.

    As much as I have tried to define the world, as you have, too, as good vs. evil, it really isn’t that simple. None of the people you have been villifying in this battle are evil. They are all trying to find a way to save Allentown. No community can thrive if it doesn’t have a vibrant marketplace. And no market can function without the ability to make a profit. If I denied that you would call me some vile name synonymous with naivete, stupidity, or worse.

    I have every intention of pushing an agenda that carries the resources being developed in the NIZ into the neighborhoods on the periphery. That will include marketing assistance, deconversion of ratty first-floor apartments back to storefronts, redevelopment of so-called “anchor buildings” and more facades for Seventh Street as well as housing rehab. Can you just give me a little time to get that done?

    You know that I have built the capacity of this community to solve its problems for many years by holding various electeds’, companies’ and others’ feet to the fire, risking our own funding, to generate resources for other organizations. We’ve done that through Community Reinvestment agreements with banks, the Green Future Fund, and the creation of the counties’ affordable housing trust funds, to name just a few. When we got a windfall from ARRA we shared all but a small fraction of it with an array of other agencies. What non-profit does that?

    How can you, with a straight face, say that I am selling out poor people in favor of padding our budget given the facts?

    Seriously, Bernie. This is a screwed up world. Is it doing anyone any good to assume every person who’s trying to do something good is, instead, a sinister Dr. Evil? This is madness.

    Alan

  5. John

    Alan, the basis of your argument here is that we should trust you. All things being equal, that statement stands.

    But the way the NIZ has unfolded has destroyed trust. That is not an understatement, the level of anger in the suburbs is enormous. At the very time we need to work together, the creators of the NIZ chose to go behind our backs.

    My advice? Be as vocal as you can on what needs to happen.

    Where is the requirement for local labor? I’m not talking Pawlowski’s union buddies/funding sources, I’m talking the people in the surrounding neighborhoods. Where is the announcement of a training program that requires NIZ contractors (all of them, not just those working on the arena) to train residents from the neighborhood in the construction trades? Why are you not publicly advocating for NIZ money to be directed to police and fire for the city, so that it’s precious few resources aren’t stretched even thinner? Why are you not advocating publicly for the businesses that were displaced be offered first crack at the new retail space being created? Why hasn’t JB Reilly announced the founding of a charitable trust whose sole purpose will be the neighborhoods surrounding the NIZ? He’s going to make millions, the least he can do is give back to the community – and in your role, I hope you’re telling him that.

    If you’re not vocal on this, you’re going to continue losing people, and you can’t afford that.

  6. Alan Jennings

    Thanks, John

    I agree with much of what you have said and am working on those issue and others.

    I think it’s important that I build a consensus on an agenda before I become too publically vocal.

    That process is going reasonably well.

    I’m sorry if I’ve lost your trust but i assure you that I remain committed to ensuring that the rising tide really does lift all boats.

    Alan

  7. John

    My 2c, consensus is great but the longer you go without being vocal the more people you lose. If you haven’t reached the cost/benefit line yet, you’re darn close to it.

    You haven’t lost my trust yet, but I admit questions pop into my head that weren’t there 5 years ago. Not regarding your ethics or integrity, but regarding your ability to get anything done.

    Good luck.

  8. Alan Jennings

    Interesting. If you want to talk, call me.

    -Alan

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