HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives recently approved bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) and Rep. Stephen Kinsey (D-Philadelphia), which would rebrand a state program that offers financial planning assistance to local governments.
The Early Intervention Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), assists local governments in developing comprehensive multi-year financial plans and establishing short- and long-term financial objectives.
The name of the program, Mehaffie said, is misleading and has deterred many municipalities from using the available resources to improve their fiscal position and potentially save taxpayer dollars.
“The name ‘early intervention’ implies fiscal distress, but the program is really a helpful strategic management tool for any municipality, not solely those experiencing financial difficulties,” Mehaffie said.
“We want more local officials to proactively take advantage of this great program so they can implement strategic plans and avoid fiscal distress.”
Mehaffie said he was first introduced to the state program while serving as a Lower Swatara Township commissioner.
“When we were told about the program, I was personally hesitant about implementing it because of the name and what it implied to me,” Mehaffie said.
“I’m thankful we got further clarification and decided to use the program because it ended up being a beneficial tool that helped us identify where we could improve financially.”
House Bill 275 would change the name of the program to the “Strategic Management Planning Program.” The bill now awaits consideration by the state Senate.
“The Early Intervention Program is a great tool for local municipalities to establish realistic financial goals,” Kinsey said.
“The problem, however, is that the name is misleading. By changing the name to the Strategic Management Program, we hope to make its purpose clearer so more municipalities will take advantage of it.”