Yesterday, the U.S. Senate ended its filibuster on FMAP, and Speaker Pelosi quickly announced that she would be calling the House back into session to vote on the legislation. The legislation gives $16 billion to the states to support Medicaid, and it also gives another $10 billion to support school districts, particularly for teachers’ jobs.
FMAP refers to the federal percentage of matching funds for state Medicaid expenditures. The federal stimulus money increased the amount of money going to the states until December of this year. The new legislation extends that funding.
Without FMAP money, Governor Rendell had threatened that 3,000 teachers, 4,000 state employees and more than 5,000 county and municipal employees could lose their jobs. While some disputed these numbers, it was quite clear that without the extension Pennsylvania would be facing a $850 million budget hole. Even with the additional funding, there is still a $250 million gap remaining, which the Governor hopes to fill by removing some tax loopholes.
If the federal government had not come through with the money, it was highly likely that all state agencies, would have faced midyear budget cuts. The Board of Governors having already set tuition, our Universities would have likely faced midyear budget deficits that would have further threatened vital programs and, perhaps, even jobs.
APSCUF belongs to the CLEAR Coalition, which is a coalition of Pennsylvania’s unions that are dedicated to fighting for responsible funding for government services. CLEAR has made it a priority to lobby for support for the FMAP legislation, to end corporate tax loopholes, to responsibly deal with the state retirement system, and to institute responsible revenue to maintain vital state services.