Krueger-Braneky: Budget provides boost to education, cuts bureaucracy, protects vulnerable Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – Calling Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal a path forward for Pennsylvania, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, hailed the investment in pre-K and Head Start while noting the importance of continuing to battle Pennsylvania’s opioid addiction crisis.

“Earlier today, Governor Wolf put forward a responsible plan that is different from the budget proposals we have seen in past years,” Krueger-Braneky said. “It balances the budget with no broad-based tax increases through cost-cutting measures in state government, but still is able to increase much needed education funding and provide services that some of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians need.

“From investing an additional $75 million in pre-K and Head Start to an additional $100 million for basic education, the governor understands that our schools are still reeling from the massive cuts made under the previous administration,” Krueger-Braneky said. “Our families and their children deserve the best education possible, and this is a step in the right direction.”

Wolf’s proposed budget includes $75 million for pre-K/Head Start, $100 million for basic education, $25 million for special education and a proposed 2 percent increase for the State System of Higher Education.

“This budget also provides continued investment in dealing with our opioid crisis, which has a huge impact in Delaware County,” Krueger-Braneky said. “This is a problem that knows no party lines, and we must come together and fight to help those who fall victim to this deadly addiction.”

Delaware County is home to some of the highest number of heroin overdose deaths in the state. The budget proposed by Wolf includes three heroin/opioid initiatives, including:

  • A $10 million initiative to equip first responders across the state with naloxone;
  • A $3.4 million initiative to expand drug courts, with the goal of increasing the number of courts that have received state accreditation;
  • Tapping into federal funding provided through the CURES Act passed late last year to expand access to treatment for uninsured and underinsured residents.

“Governor Wolf also protects programs for seniors and their ability to receive the care they need in their own home, which will be vital to ensuring our parents, relatives and neighbors get the care they need in our community rather than at treatment facilities,” Krueger-Braneky said.

The governor’s budget also includes over $26 million to move individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism from the waiting list and into services.

“Overall, this budget provides exactly what our constituents want and need – increased education funding, a reduction in the level of bureaucracy while still maintaining vital services and continued protection for our seniors. Pennsylvania has been plagued by politics as usual in Harrisburg and this has led to our current structural deficit. I truly believe the governor’s plan will move Pennsylvania forward toward the kind of state our constituents want us to be.”