Schlossberg sees much to like in governor’s budget proposal

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg offered the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2017-18 state budget proposal that was presented today at the Capitol.

“It’s good to see the 2017-18 proposal suggests adding $125 million for kindergarten through 12th grade education, $75 million for early childhood education, and $8.9 million for higher education.

“I will continue to make difficult votes to protect these services and increase our investments in early childhood education, expanded pre-K and support for our community schools. We’ve done a lot of good in the past two budgets by restoring $465 million for kindergarten through 12th grade education, $14.6 million for early intervention programs, $81.4 for higher education and $60 million for early childhood education. We have to protect those investments and build on them for the future,” Schlossberg said.

Locally, the Wolf budget plan proposes a funding increase of $3.3 million for the Allentown School District, of which $2.8 million is for basic education and $500,000 is for special education; while the Parkland School District would receive an increase of $312,000, of which $250,000 is for basic education and $62,000 is for special education.

“I am delighted that Governor Wolf is continuing his push to improve home-based and community-based services by launching Community Health Choices to help seniors receive care in the community and in the home, rather than having them move to care facilities.

“I’m also pleased to see his sustained commitment to fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic that is devastating so many Pennsylvania families by offering additional funding to expand treatment options for those with addictions, on top of the $20 million that was offered in the 2016-17 budget.

“The current state budget continued to kick the fiscal can down the road, so now Governor Wolf is making very difficult decisions which are being forced by structural deficits and depleted reserves. Clearly we need to be working toward efficiencies, eliminating duplication and aligning services to fully meet the needs of our citizens.

“However, we must be careful that these cuts and program eliminations don’t have a negative and long-term cost for taxpayers and people who cannot afford to see state hospital closings, job eliminations and the removal of services for people with mental health issues,” Schlossberg said.