More than 100 people from 27 organizations gathered in front of the Delaware County Courthouse to protest similar proposed cuts. About 30 children were on hand, holding signs with sentiments such as "Invest in me!" and "We are the future and you must take care of us."
"You're all government waste," Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a liberal-leaning think tank in Harrisburg, told the crowd. Budget cuts affect real people, she said. "They are our neighbors, they are our friends."
Zachary Lewis, 27, of Philadelphia, who watched the rally from his wheelchair, said the legislature might cut a program that provides him with home-health-care aides that help him dress and prepare meals.
Lewis, who lost the use of his legs seven years ago, has a full-time job with benefits and moved to his own apartment a year ago. While his medical benefits would help him pay to stay in a nursing home, they won't cover the cost of aides to come to his home, he said. He would have to ask relatives to help him.
"They're willing to pitch in," he said, "But they have their own lives."
Debbie Plotnick, director of advocacy at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, said some organizations won't make payroll this week without state aid.
"Almost none of us will be able to make payroll by the end of the month," she said. "We need a budget now."