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Democrats Outline Budget Negotiation Priorities, Investment Plan

At a recent news conference in Harrisburg, Senate Democrats unveiled a comprehensive set of budget priorities that will help guide our upcoming discussions with other lawmakers and the governor.

2012 Priorities 2012 Priorities The plan we outlined is a framework for a long-term, multi-year approach to budgeting. This will add consistency and reduce wide surplus-deficit swings. It is a more predictable and less volatile budgeting method. Senate Democrats believe there can be multiple-year budgets if we institute smart, innovative and efficient policies now.

If we are successful this year and make the kinds of investments that we are talking about in jobs, education and funding county based social service programs, we will be very well-positioned for the future.

Watch Press Conferenc

A couple years ago, we indicated that it was useful to do multi-year budgeting and we can get back on that course if the legislature implements these budget priorities.

If we would have followed this course we would not be facing a fiscal crisis each year, as we have under Gov. Corbett.

Unlike last year when Democrats were completely shut out of budget negotiations, this year we have been promised a seat at the table. We want to work cooperatively, but will not sacrifice our principles.

Watch Press Conferenc

Watch Senator Costa's Remarks at Press Conference

Watch Press Conferenc

Clearly there needs to be a strong Democratic influence on budget negotiations. Given the disaster of last year’s budget and the resulting hardship, pending school bankruptcies and stalled job creation, responsible budgeting is needed.

For example, as a result of last year’s budget 41,000 families lost access to adultBasic health insurance and 88,000 children have been cut from Medical Assistance. Additionally, there have been $1.5 billion in cuts to education; and $1.7 billion in reductions to human service programs.

Last year’s budget only helped big business.

Senate Democrats will not soften on key issues such as job creation, investments, protecting the vulnerable and preventing local taxpayers from paying the price of state political expediency.

In our priorities we’ve identified key areas where we can make investments and we’ve focused on strategies that address challenges faced by working families, seniors, students and others.

2012 Priorities Our approach is simple and our plan is fully paid for. It does not require more taxes from our citizens, nor does it ask for more burden shifting.

The Senate Democrats are calling for restorations and new program investments of more than $1 billion. Plus, we believe we can do more restorations if the economy continues to gain steam.

Our budget priorities would produce more than $1 billion in new revenues through innovation, efficiencies and leveraging.

The budget priorities we unveiled include an infusion of $200 million in new job investments and the use of tax credits to leverage more than $1.5 billion for infrastructure. We also call for the restoration of hundreds of millions for education, because the Corbett cuts have struck taxpayers and students hard.

We think there should be more at least $400 million in restorations to the key budget line items that support critical social safety net programs such as county human service programs and lines that aid women, infants and children.

Our budget priorities include $40 million more to aid domestic violence victims, halt our prisons’ revolving door and ensure all citizens fair and appropriate access to our courts.

Senate Democrats believe more bridges to local government can be created and that we can restore HEMAP, cut millions more in local property taxes, and reform the cyber-charter school funding formula.

We can achieve a better, more predictable and efficient spending plan and we have produced a budget priority framework that can move Pennsylvania forward.

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2012 Priorities