Annual Legal Services Funding to be Reduced by 10% During Remainder of Fiscal Year
With commonwealth revenues continuing to come in below estimate for the 2011-12 fiscal year, Governor Tom Corbett has directed his Budget Office to freeze nearly $160 million in state spending.
The governor also has asked government entities not under his jurisdiction to reduce their spending by nearly $66 million.
Sam Milkes, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, indicated that this includes a 10% freeze in legal services funding, resulting in a shortfall of $274,000 for the Pennsylvania agencies that provide civil legal services to the poor. Milkes stated that the 10% cut is devastating in that it is occurring half way through the programs' fiscal year effectively cutting funding by 20% for the remainder of the year.
A congressional agreement for Fiscal Year 2012 funding would provide $348 million to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Of that, $322.4 million would fund basic field grants for the delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income Americans.
LSC is currently funded at $398.1 million under an interim FY 2012 bill that expires on November 18. LSC currently provides $372.9 million in grants to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.
The House-Senate conference agreement would cut LSC’s overall funding by 13.9 percent and funding for basic field grants by 14.8 percent. The agreement is scheduled to be taken up for a vote on the House floor this week.
The House had proposed $300 million in LSC funding for FY 2012, and the Senate had recommended $396.1 million.
Funding for LSC rose to $420 million in FY 2010 and dropped to $404.2 million in FY 2011. The last time LSC was funded at $348 million was in 2007.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies approved $396 million in Fiscal Year 2012 funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on September 14, a reduction of $8 million from the current level.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the Fiscal Year 2012 funding bill on September 15. Earlier this year, the House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting LSC funding by 26 percent in Fiscal Year 2012, to $300 million.
Reduction included in legislation negotiated to avoid government shutdown
The Fiscal Year 2011 budget for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) would be cut by $15.8 million, reducing funds for civil legal assistance to low-income Americans, according to legislation announced today.
LSC received $420 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2010, and the funding bill for 2011 would provide $404.2 million, a reduction of 3.8 percent. The legislation, the result of a negotiated agreement between the Congress and the White House to avoid a government shutdown, is scheduled for votes in the House and Senate this week.