Kinsey applauds Wolf’s budget provisions

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., applauded the 2020-21 state budget proposal outlined Tuesday by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“Governor Wolf’s proposal is ambitious and is exactly what’s needed to lay the foundation that poises Pennsylvania to be a better, more equitable commonwealth,” said Kinsey, who serves as subcommittee chairman on education in the House Appropriations Committee. “My top committee duty will be to work relentlessly to ensure that these proposals become concrete and implemented.”

Wolf’s budget proposal includes heavy investment in public schools and early childhood education, as well as new workforce initiatives to prepare more workers for in-demand jobs. Wolf proposed a new scholarship program to help students in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education avoid crushing student debt.

“Student loan debt bounds college students to a life of misery and potential financial ruin,” Kinsey said. “I’m thrilled for these provisions that would not just provide financial relief for graduates, but also address every academic stage in the lives of young Pennsylvanians to prepare them for bright futures.”

Reiterating his strong commitment to keeping Pennsylvanians safe, Wolf proposed additional measures to protect vulnerable populations and renewed his call for legislators to pass measures to reduce gun violence, including a “red flag” law and universal background checks on firearm purchasers.

“I’m grateful for Governor Wolf putting $6 million toward public safety initiatives statewide, with an additional $4 million for Philadelphia. These measures would provide the vital protections communities across our commonwealth desperately need to combat this public health crisis that has claimed the lives of one too many,” said Kinsey, who also recently launched a public safety tour across Northwest Philadelphia called “Step Up, Stand Up,” seeking the public’s help for solutions to combatting gun violence.

Kinsey also praised Wolf’s continued support for vulnerable Pennsylvanians, pointing to the governor previously announcing $8.1 million in proposed new funding to provide services for 1,700 people on the OPTIONS in-home services waiting list. OPTIONS is for people 60 and older who are financially or clinically ineligible for Medical Assistance or long-term services and supports.

Included in that new funding was $1.2 million more for direct care worker training to support workers and those receiving long-term services, to match the growing aging population and decrease the size of the waitlist, as the trend of using home and community-based services in lieu of institutional settings have increased demand for direct care workers.

“With many seniors choosing in-home care, it’s imperative that Pennsylvania provides the tools and training for aspiring care workers through adequate funding,” Kinsey said. “This provides seniors autonomy of their health care and generates careers.”