Governor Rendell Urges Adequate Support for Autism Services in the final State Budget
HARRISBURG â€“ Standing with families of Pennsylvanians with autism, Governor Edward G. Rendell today stressed the need for legislators to maintain critical funding for autism services in the final state budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
â€śThere was no dedicated budget for autism services when I took office, but since then, Pennsylvania has made great strides in providing for those most in need,â€ť said Governor Rendell. â€śFunding for these services is now being threatened. Through their budget proposal, Senate Republicans would slash state spending for autism services by 28 percent — a cut that would also jeopardize millions of dollars in federal matching funds.â€ť
Governor Rendell reminded all Pennsylvanians that the budget fight is being waged on behalf of every child and adult living with autism and the networks that support them. The need for autism services continues to grow; as there are an estimated 25,000 people — mostly children — with autism living in Pennsylvania today. This represents a 25 percent increase from just four years ago.
Focusing on Pennsylvania as a national leader in autism services, the Governor recognized the recent unveiling of the stateâ€™s three regional autism ASERT centers, which represent a partnership of those involved in the treatment and care of adults and children with an autism spectrum disorder.
â€śAt this campus where we stand today, families are benefiting from the partnership that has brought together the best minds and the best practitioners in the region,â€ť said the Governor.Â â€śThis is evidence of how innovation happens.
â€śThere is no sustainable, fiscally responsible solution to our budget challenge without new revenue,â€ť Governor Rendell warned. â€śWe recognize that prudent cuts are needed to balance our budget, but I will not allow decisions to be made that would gut essential programs and shortchange the future of our children.â€ť