PSCFO Letter to State Senators on 2014-2015 State Budget

June 29, 2014

TO:      PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATORS

FR:       Vince Phillips
Association Manager

RE:      2014-15 State Budget

Now that the PA House has sent its version of the Fiscal Year 2014-15 Budget to the Senate, we respectfully request you to focus attention on several items affecting Pennsylvania’s number one industry, Agriculture.

  • PDA General Government Operations
  • A number of traditional PDA programs

In past budget cycles, the PA Department of Agriculture has taken the brunt of cuts so that now PDA has nowhere else to cut. Failure to maintain or increase the General Governmental Operations line item will result in staff cuts and undermine the Department’s ability to meet its regulatory responsibilities. As you know, this line item includes staff payroll and benefits and benefits costs are going through the roof.  Many of PSCFO’s sixty-plus agricultural organizations are directly affected by the staff capacity at PDA as part of a regulated community. No one wants to talk about increased spending anywhere because of the Commonwealth’s dire financial shortfall but in this case, a modest increase will stabilize the PDA budget and allow it to meet its directives from the General Assembly.

The other bullet refers to a number of highly successful smaller PDA programs which the House-passed Budget keeps at present fiscal year levels.  PSCFO asks that you continue funding line items for Agricultural Research (not to be confused with the Penn State budget), the highly successful PA Preferred program, the Centers for Dairy and Beef Excellence and others.

Thank you for keeping Agriculture’s views in mind as you consider the FY 2014-15 Budget.

P.S.:  I have also added you to our mailing list to receive the AG ONE Newsletter.