Compromise Budget: Government That Works
By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary
December 09, 2015
In bipartisan fashion, the Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed a compromise budget based on the agreed-to framework established weeks ago by the Governor and legislative leaders. In addition to historic investments in our schools and the first step toward the restoration of the cuts made to human services programs, this budget enhances the governor’s mission to create a government that works for all Pennsylvanians.
This compromise budget invests in important programs aimed at solving some of Pennsylvania’s biggest crises and expanding some of the commonwealth’s most successful programs: increasing funding to combat the heroin epidemic, investing in workforce development programs, funding four new cadet classes for the Pennsylvanian State Police, increasing access to food security for needy families, and protecting Pennsylvanians’ air and water.
Attacking the Heroin Epidemic
The compromise budget includes an additional $9 million in funding toward efforts to combat the heroin epidemic spread across three agencies. Since his inauguration, Governor Wolf has worked with his administration to provide real solutions not only to save lives but also to help addicted individuals and their families get the treatment they need to live long, productive lives.
Such actions taken by the Wolf Administration include the development of the ABC-MAP prescription drug monitoring program which can finally be implemented upon passage of the budget, the creation of the interagency Heroin Task Force, the support for the use of naloxone at schools across the commonwealth, and stocking all Pennsylvania State Police cars and Capitol Police officers with the naloxone drug. Since equipping State Police cars with naloxone, over 300 lives have been saved with this drug. Further, at the Governor’s request, Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine signed a standing-order allowing any Pennsylvanian to obtain this life-saving drug.
Investing in Workers
The budget increases funding for Department of Labor and Industry programs totaling nearly $11 million, including $4 million for increased training initiatives; $5 million to leverage an additional $18.5 million in federal funds for vocational rehabilitation and assistance; and $400,000 to expand services at centers for independent living. This infusion of state dollars will help Pennsylvania significantly strengthen and expand these vital programs and partnerships with higher education and the private sector.
Making Pennsylvania Safer
The compromise budget increases funding for the Pennsylvania State Police by nearly $25 million to fund four new cadet classes and increase complement to the highest level in commonwealth history. This will increase the strength of Pennsylvania’s primary law enforcement and public safety agency despite expected retirements and turnover.
Strengthening Food Security
The budget includes an increase in the State Food Purchase Program of $3.4 million, providing additional funding for local food banks, to ensure the most vulnerable of Pennsylvania’s families can find food security in their time of need.
Protecting Air and Water
This compromise increases funding for Department of Environmental Protection program appropriations by more than $8 million, including a nearly $5 million increase to protect Pennsylvanians’ air and water quality.
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