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House Sends GOP Budget Plan to Senate


      Now the real work can begin. The House Republican budget is just a toned-down version of Governor Corbett’s slash-and-burn budget. I look forward to working with Republicans in the Senate to make significant changes to bring about a final state budget which reflects responsible spending without neglecting our responsibility to those Pennsylvanians who rely on us to be their voice in the legislature.

        While modest restorations for some education programs provide a starting point for those discussions, ill conceived cuts for programs that would provide child care assistance for poor working parents and critical reimbursements for uncompensated care for high volume Medicaid hospitals create new problems that must be addressed in the final budget plan.

        It is telling that we have seen Republicans in the House backing away from their own legislation in the last couple of days. They haven’t gone far enough. Republicans have acknowledged that key Democratic sticking points deserve further attention, and it is time to act by making substantial restorations to education funding, using a portion of this year’s revenue surplus to restore critical programs, implementing a fair Marcellus Shale revenue plan, and protecting and preserving the Tobacco Settlement Fund for the purpose it was intended.

        During floor debate in the House, Rep. Turzai urged those who disagreed with the GOP plan to propose an alternative. Senate Democrats have been crossing the state to share our plan with Pennsylvanians and to gather feedback. The sensible budget alternatives which we have outlined in our $1.14 billion savings plan, along with our PA Works plan to make significant investments in job creation and training will not only save money. They will allow the commonwealth to proceed on a course toward growth and progress. They will make our economy strong and help us emerge from this recession. We want Pennsylvania to be at the head of the pack when measured against other states. We will not allow a budget which undermines our investments in education and economic growth. We will not let a short-sighted approach set us back.

        Some of our suggestions were embraced in Governor Corbett’s proposed budget plan. SB 1030 which passed yesterday includes another important job training initiative -- a shared work plan -- that was part of our PA Works initiatives.

        In the coming weeks we will work with our Senate Republican colleagues to address the many shortcomings of the House GOP and Corbett budget plans.

Specifically, Democrats hope to fully restore:

  • Tutoring Assistance
  • Accountability Block Grant and Charter School reimbursement programs for local school districts
  • Higher Education cuts for state related and state system schools
  • Hospital reimbursements for uncompensated care, critical care access, and other forms of specialty care
  • Critical county and municipal assistance programs including the Human Service Development Fund, Housing and Redevelopment Assistance, and Home Owners Emergency Mortgage Assistance
  • Job creation and training programs essential to keep growing our economy
  • Use of the Tobacco Settlement Fund for what it was intended -- health care
    (See my op-ed on this issue in the Post-Gazette this week)

        There is still an opportunity for you to weigh in on the state budget. Your input is important to me. We will begin making changes to the House proposal when we return to Harrisburg on June 6.

Town Hall Meeting Schedule

Thursday, May 26th
7pm - 8:30pm
Sarah Jackson Community Center

Swisshelm Park
1050 Windermere Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15218-1142
Wednesday, June 1st
7 pm – 8:30 pm
Jewish Community Center

Levinson Hall
5738 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Thursday, June 2nd
7 pm - 8:30 pm

Concord K-5 School

2350 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15210

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        For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook. Facebook





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