Budget Summit 2020


Thursday, March 19, 2020

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Hilton Harrisburg, 1 North Second Street, Harrisburg


The 2020 Pennsylvania Budget Summit is POSTPONED due to the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

We will be posting details about rescheduling the Summit, as well as our plans for a series of online, interactive versions of some of the plenaries, workshops, and breakout sessions we planned to provide at the Summit — the first of which will be a webinar next Thursday, March 19, at 2 p.m., presenting PBPC’s overview and analysis of Gov. Wolf’s proposed 2020-21 state budget. That presentation will also include some of our ideas about how the state should be responding to the coronavirus and how our budget may need to be adjusted in light of a recession that seems imminent. You can register and receive a login for the webinar here.

As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make. But we are confident that it’s the right one.

The idea that there are public goods that transcend our individual good and can only be attained by common action is central to the PBPC. Among those common actions are participating in the political process, paying our taxes, and standing up for public policies that provide other common goods and create economic justice. There are many circumstances, such as voting or making small contributions to advocacy, in which the hundreds, thousands, and millions of individual actions are critical to attaining the common good. This is a time when, ironically, the best way for us to help one another is to stay apart: reducing the rate of infection, and thus reducing the number of people who become ill and the burden on our health care system, is impossible if we do not all practice social distancing.

Postponing our conference then, is not just a matter of protecting each of us individually — and especially those among us who by virtue of our age, disability or health status, are particularly vulnerable to this disease. It’s what we must do to protect our whole community. And it is also a statement of our ideals — our faith that our own individual good is deeply intertwined with the good of us all.

All of us who are involved in the planning this year’s Budget Summit — speakers, panelists, moderators, planning committee volunteers, and staff — have worked tirelessly to put together what would have been an incredible, meaningful, and productive Summit. And we know that many of you have carved out time from your busy schedules, have made travel plans, and have invested financial resources that may not be easily recouped.

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the deep flaws in our political economy, many of which we had planned to address at the Budget Summit. The crisis will already be worse in the United States than it needs to be because funding cuts at the CDC and the failure to mobilize the federal government to make testing quickly and widely available has allowed the coronavirus to spread. It will spread faster because millions of people do not have robust health insurance or paid sick leave. More people will suffer because the extreme inequality and tattered safety net in Pennsylvania and the United States leaves millions of working families and the most vulnerable among us without the resources required to weather a storm like this.

Far more people will die and suffer needlessly because of the short-term and long-term failures of federal and state governments that are under the control of people who fail to recognize the common goods we share and the importance of justice to all of us.

This year, even more than in previous years, our Summit would have been devoted to providing an alternative vision of what our government can and should be doing. We are sad we won’t be gathering together. But we thank you all for everything you do in support of that vision and look forward to working with you in keeping this critical conversation and work going forward.

We will be following up with additional details and next steps, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you for your support for PBPC’s work. Again, we deeply regret any inconvenience or hardship this decision has caused.

* * * POSTPONED * * *