FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2017
HB 218 would jeopardize military readiness, care for veterans
Annville, PA – Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, said he fears that the cuts contained in the House Republican budget proposal (HB 218) would jeopardize military readiness and diminish care for the commonwealth’s veterans.
“Over the past nine years, DMVA’s staff complement has decreased by 22 percent through the elimination of vacant positions and furlough actions,” Carrelli said. “Any further reduction to this line item will place the Department in a precarious position and will most certainly have a detrimental effect in our ability to adequately train our 20,000 National Guard members and support our nearly 894,000 veterans.”
Impacts of executing House Bill 218 include:
· Longer wait times to process applications for benefits, programs and services that Pennsylvania’s veterans have earned and deserve without delay.
· Deep cuts at the beginning of the state budget year will coincide with the peak season of National Guard annual training, multiple large units preparing for combat deployments/mobilizations, and our numerous commitments to provide training support to the busiest National Guard Training Center in the United States.
· DMVA would eventually be forced to furlough up to 65 employees and cease a number of veteran and National Guard programs and services.
“Working for an agency with a dual mission of serving our veterans and military members I can’t in good conscience choose one over the other when it comes to making cuts,” Carrelli added. “When faced with the 6.5 percent budgetary cuts associated with HB 218 – on top of what the Governor’s budget already proposes -- it is blatantly apparent that DMVA cannot support such a reduction in our General Government Operations appropriation. We will continue to conduct business as usual until we are forced to make the tough decisions, but that might come as soon as February 2018.”
According to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ “2016 Economic Impact in Communities’’ report, the Pennsylvania National Guard and state veterans’ operations generated an estimated $1.4 billion in 2016 stemming from nearly $860 million in state and federal expenditures. The cuts included in HB 218 would only serve to diminish the positive impact the Department has throughout the state.
The DMVA is one of Pennsylvania’s top 10 employers with approximately 22,000 state employees and National Guard members located in more than 90 communities across the commonwealth.
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard “2016 Economic Impact in Communities” report can be viewed online at www.dmva.pa.gov.
23 June 2017 - The delegates a the 74th Annual Convention of the Marine Corps League of Pennsylvania, Inc. have voted to go on record opposing any budget cuts in relation to military readiness or veterans care.