– Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his state budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly today, unveiling a plan that proposes to hike spending by $927 million, according to Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks)
“The governor’s budget proposal would increase state spending by about 2.8 percent over last year,” said Staats. “While such increases do not reflect the fiscally responsible government and sound economy that Pennsylvania citizens and job creators want, today was just the start of the annual state budget process and a lot can happen between now and the June 30 budget deadline.
“As a member of the House Education Committee, I was pleased to learn that the governor understands the need to focus on workforce development and training. A strong commitment to career and technical education will help put our citizens to work and strengthen our economy.
“House Republicans have taken the lead in funding education throughout Pennsylvania. In fact, funding for PreK-12 education has increased by more than $3.4 billion since 2011. But money isn’t the only answer. We must also take care to ensure that our education dollars are being spent wisely and are producing the results we expect.
“The governor’s proposal for a dramatic increase the minimum wage is raising concern. While it may well be time for a minimum wage adjustment, our focus should be on creating more family-sustaining jobs, not locking people into entry level positions with no chance for advancement. When the governor proposed a $12 per hour minimum wage hike last year, the Independent Fiscal Office estimated it would result in the loss of 33,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.
“Finally, the state budget must provide for the needs of our most vulnerable citizens – children, the elderly and those with physical or intellectual abilities. The Department of Human Services claims nearly 40 percent of our state budget. Commonsense reforms are needed within DHS to hold down costs while ensuring these citizens are adequately protected. One such reform would be to enact reasonable work requirements for able-bodied individuals on public assistance.
“On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee will begin three weeks of budget hearings, which will consider the funding requests of various state departments, agencies and other stakeholders that rely on state appropriations. I will be watching to ensure that state revenues are being spent wisely and are moving our Commonwealth in the right direction,” Staats said.
Representative Craig Staats
145th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham