AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Opinion

July 27, 2012

When slashing funds in Pa., cooler heads should prevail

Slashing funds to food pantries unconscionable

MERCER COUNTY — Marie Antoinette, who was later beheaded, supposedly said "Let them eat cake!" when told that poor people in France had nothing to eat.

The term "cake" actually referred to the bitter scum that was removed from the top of the batter when preparing bread.

That apparently is also the same opinion of our state leaders since it was revealed in a Herald story Wednesday that the state budget contained a 22-percent cut in funding for Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County.

Warehouse Executive Director Lori Weston, in what would be pretty much a huge understatement, commented: "This is going to hurt."

A short time ago The Herald carried stories on how the state budget hacked spending for education and the effect it will have on local schools. Local tax increases and cuts in programs and teaching staffs were some of the undesirable results.

Now it is the underprivileged who will suffer when they don't have enough food to eat because of budget cuts.

Everyone is aware that Mercer County is one of the areas of this state hit hard by the national economic downturn.

In fact, Warehouse Public Relations Coordinator Mimi Prada said there has been a 20 percent increase in people looking for help in recent years.

It doesn't take a mathematics genius to realize that a 20 percent increase in hungry people and a 22-percent funding cut equals big trouble.

The Community Food Warehouse is a much needed operation. It aids 34 area agencies that supply food for more than 17,600 people.

And about 30 percent of them are children.

It is unthinkable that in America today kids would have to go to bed hungry.

But with the state-funding cuts that is a very real possibility.

The thing that should bother everyone is that there must be other areas of the state budget that could be cut, rather than taking food from the mouths of kids.

For example, we recently carried a front-page story on state officials and how much per diem money they get for food and lodging.

They are allowed up to $160 a day for such items.

Area officials Sen. Bob Robbins and Rep. Mark Longietti were among the highest in their branches of government in filing for those funds, according to 2010 figures.

With salaries of $82,000 per year, maybe they could donate some of their per diem money to the Food Warehouse.

And surely there are other areas that can be cut instead when you consider that food is pretty important to most people.

Gov. Tom Corbett, who is behind many of the funding cuts in the state that will leave some people hungry, didn't come out and say, "Let them eat cake."

But he should remember what happened to the person who supposedly said it, especially when the next election rolls around and people will be after his head.

Published July 18, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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