Conklin: Budget proposal an ambitious plan to invest in education, middle class

HARRISBURG, March 3 – Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf's 2015-16 budget address:

"Governor Wolf's plan is comprehensive and ambitious.

"The plan makes investments in the state’s future with increases in education funding. We are looking to rebuild a broken education funding system that was the product of the last four years. Penn State is a leader in higher education and Governor Wolf made it clear that he recognizes that. With a proposed funding increase, we can restore cuts that have been made and better prepare students for their careers in the workforce. He is proposing an increase in funding for Penn State of more than 10 percent and that would be meaningful.

"I am pleased that the governor and I share the same sentiments when it comes to utilizing opportunities within the Marcellus Shale natural gas development. We would tap into a new revenue source that would still keep us on top as an energy leader without using a single dime of taxpayers' money. Why not use this budget as an opportunity to provide an additional revenue source to help those who need it most?

"As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will be actively involved in the next step of the process which includes three weeks of public hearings and discussions about state agencies' needs. The governor has laid the groundwork, the House and Senate will now pick up their batons, and every side must work to strike the appropriate balance.

"As the budget process moves forward, I encourage all of my constituents in Centre County to voice their opinions. The process is an open one and it is important to the integrity of the General Assembly that we have significant public input," Conklin said.