Kinsey cautiously optimistic about Wolf’s 2017-18 budget proposal

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., praised Gov. Tom Wolf’s “sensible” approach to the 2017-18 state budget, introduced by the governor today during an address to a joint session of the General Assembly.

Kinsey said Wolf's proposed budget would build on the last two state budgets by boosting investments in education and fighting the opioid crisis while keeping spending increases below the rate of inflation and making significant inroads in eliminating Pennsylvania's ongoing fiscal deficit.

“Governor Wolf’s proposal would invest more than $200 million in schools, funding that is badly needed and especially in Philadelphia, without a broad-based tax increase,” Kinsey said. “The proposal would offer reforms to save the state more than $2 billion, while still being able to expand the school breakfast program so students from disadvantaged backgrounds can start the day ready to learn. I applaud Governor Wolf for his commitment to our schools and students.” 

Kinsey said Wolf’s budget proposal would also fully fund the coming year's pension obligations to avoid further debt, reduce waiting lists for intellectual disability services, and streamline and simplify services through health and human services agency-related consolidation. These savings and efficiencies are targeted at saving the state as much as $2.1 billion.  

“Today's address by Governor Wolf is just a starting point of the annual budget process,” Kinsey said. “Over the next several weeks, we will get into the details of his plan during the budget hearings held by the House Appropriations Committee. As a member of the committee, I look forward to learning more about this proposal. Together, I am optimistic that Harrisburg can deliver a budget that helps move Philadelphia and the entire commonwealth forward.” 

Hearings by the House Appropriations Committee will begin Feb. 21.