House Democratic leaders welcome Wolf budget proposal

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – House Democratic leaders praised Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal and said it carries forward the priorities of protecting people, jobs and schools found in the Democratic Caucus’s Plan For Pennsylvania.

“Since he took office three years ago, Governor Wolf has challenged the status quo in Harrisburg to get things done, and he’s continuing to do that in this budget,” said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody.

“The budget proposal reflects the values and priorities of middle-class families who need state government to finally work for them and their financial security, instead of working for special interests,” Dermody said.

House Democrats welcomed the governor’s focus on a continued investment in quality schools in every community and in skills training to prepare adult workers for the good jobs available in today’s growth industries.

“Governor Wolf ran his campaign on the notion that he would restore the devastating cuts to education made by the previous administration,” Democratic Minority Whip Mike Hanna said. “Not only did he fulfill that commitment, he surpassed expectations by proposing additional funding for pre-K through higher education for the fourth year in a row.”

Hanna said he is especially pleased to see additional dollars invested in the 14 universities that make up the State System of Higher Education.

“This budget invests in our schools to move our economy forward, funds workforce development initiatives so students can be prepared for the most in-demand jobs of the 21st century and supports job security efforts by ensuring everyone has the opportunity to earn family-sustaining wages,” Hanna said.

Democratic House Appropriations Committee Chairman Joe Markosek noted the governor’s ongoing effort to serve people with special needs and the continuation of his call for the legislature to pass a severance tax on natural gas drilling.

“What’s not to like?” Markosek said during floor remarks. “He is continuing to make children a priority by asking for increases in basic, special and pre-K education. He’s helping people with autism and intellectual disabilities get state services sooner. And, he’s asking for the one tax increase that an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians want.”

The leaders said House Democrats are eagerly anticipating budget hearings in the next four weeks to learn more about the governor’s plans and to promote the caucus’s policy agenda, the Plan For Pennsylvania.