In his February budget address for 2012-13, the governor proposed $673.7 million for a Human Services Development Block Grant. The block grant would provide counties the flexibility to move funds where they need them the most. The total Human Services Development Fund was budgeted at $754.7 million, which includes federal funds.
Legislation would need to be passed to implement the block grant.
Corbett’s budget proposal slashes more than $168 million in state funds, or 20 percent, from these human services programs. The services include everything from mental health and child welfare to drug and alcohol programs.
The administration has said the block grants would streamline reporting requirements.
It remains unclear what the final amount of state aid will be as budget negotiations take place in the General Assembly. Senate Republicans last month passed a nearly $27.7 billion budget bill, which would spend about $517 million more than the governor’s blueprint.
The Senate bill restores $84 million in funding for the human services programs.
“The current system is not fair to taxpayers or to the people in need,” Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, first vice president of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, said in a news release. “Block grants will free counties from reporting to multiple masters and free people from applying to multiple programs.”
Pennsylvania’s fiscal year ends June 30.
Editor’s note: A budget figure in this story was clarified from a previous version.