Restores Funding for Basic and Higher Education, Health Care, Human Services

Philadelphia – April 14, 2011 – State Sen. Larry Farnese joined Democratic colleagues today to announce a budget plan that underscores their budget priorities and includes $1.14 billion in total savings, new revenues and efficiencies.

At a news conference today at Temple University, Democrats offered the budget plan in response to Governor Tom Corbett’s proposal to make deep cuts in basic and higher education, social service funding, hospital funds, health care, job creation and county programs.

“The options in this plan offer a real way out of the budget crisis facing Pennsylvania, one that does the least harm to our vulnerable citizens and ensures education funding remains at optimal levels” Farnese said. “I look forward to continuing the discussion on this viable plan in the months to come.”

The Democratic plan uses the funding generated from the cost savings, revenues and innovations to restore critical funding for basic and higher education, safety net programs, mortgage assistance and other vital programs.

The Senate Democratic plan includes savings, revenues and efficiencies of $1.14 billion:

  • $750 million in savings from fiscal responsibility initiatives in Public Welfare, Corrections, procurement and maximizing revenues;
  • $290 million in savings generated through a tax fairness plan that includes a Marcellus Shale tax levy but eliminates other tax breaks suggested by the governor;
  • $100 million from higher state stores revenues.

Senate Democrats said the new revenue and savings can be used to restore key funding lines that were slashed in the Corbett budget plan. Senate Democrats would use the funds to:

  • Restore basic and higher education funding to fiscal 2010-11 levels;
  • Restore critical county programs such as the Human Services Development Fund;
  • Save the HEMAP (Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program) and mortgage foreclosure assistance programs;
  • Ensure that the Tobacco Settlement funds are used for healthcare;
  • Fund the adultBasic program with tobacco settlement dollars;
  • Maintain core programs that create jobs and provide training.

Senate Democrats also pointed out that the revenue estimates included in the governor’s proposed budget were significantly under Senate Democratic estimates. The governor’s budget indicates that revenue surplus would be $78 million while Senate Democrats estimate year-end revenues at $300 million.

Democratic leaders also said state revenues would increase if more jobs were created. As a result, Senate Democrats have proposed a sweeping jobs plan called “PA Works” that would create jobs, leverage private funds and generate economic investment.

The news conference announcing the plan was immediately followed by a Senate Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion on job training legislation, a key component of PA Works.



Tagged with: