PEMA head criticizes proposed budget cuts

Written by Radio Pennsylvania | May 7, 2017 8:35 AM

 AP Photo/Matt Rourke

(Harrisburg) -- The Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is speaking out against cuts contained in the state budget recently passed in the House. 

PEMA Director Rick Flinn says the budget reduces funding to his agency by 6.5 percent, which will result in reductions in staffers who work directly with officials at the local and county levels following an emergency.

Of particular concern is the elimination of a grant program for counties affected by natural disasters.

"Typically when we get a federal disaster declaration the federal government and FEMA pay 75-percent of what the costs are and the commonwealth typically pays the 25-percent.  We don't pass that down to the counties and municipalities," he said.

Flinn said the immediate effect would be the loss of federal funding for residents of Bradford, Sullivan, Lycoming and Centre counties affected by severe flooding last fall. 

He said he's reaching out to leaders in the Senate, where the budget bill is now headed. 

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