Governor Wolf’s Second Year: Progress on Schools, Jobs, and Reform

November 29, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf ends his second year in office with a slew of accomplishments on his key priorities, including funding our schools, creating middle-class jobs, fighting the opioid epidemic, reforming state government and working with the legislature to move Pennsylvania forward. The Governor’s laser focus on investing in Pennsylvania families and taking on the status quo has paid-off, but there is more work to do.

Map of Governor Wolf’s Schools That Teach, Jobs That Pay, and Opioid Discussion Events in 2016.

Fixing Schools

Prior to taking office, Pennsylvania’s poorest schools endured the worst of state budget cuts, so Governor Wolf prioritized restoring funding and enacting a fair funding formula. Working with the legislature, the governor has secured historic increases in his first two years: $465 million more for classrooms to ensure our children have the resources they need to learn, $74.6 million more for early childhood education and intervention, and nearly $100 million more for state-funded universities and community colleges. Governor Wolf also announced the launch of It’s On Us PA – the first statewide campaign to address the crisis of sexual assault in schools and on college campuses.

Creating Jobs

In 2016, the Wolf Administration secured commitments for creating and retaining more than 200,000 full-time jobs and the investment of nearly $1.1 billion in Pennsylvania’s economy. Shell will create 6,000 full-time construction jobs and 600 permanent positions, Governor Wolf’s investment in the Philadelphia port will create thousands of jobs and Amazon’s expansion will mean 5,000 new, full-time jobs. Governor Wolf also worked to increase employment opportunities for workers and high school students with disabilities. In early 2016, Pennsylvania finally completed the phase-out of our unfair, double taxation of businesses.

Fighting the Opioid Crisis

Throughout 2016, Governor Wolf traveled to every corner of Pennsylvania to learn how the opioid and heroin crisis was affecting families and communities. He then worked with the legislature to secure $20.4 million in the 2016-17 budget to fund treatment for 45 Centers of Excellence for Pennsylvanians struggling with opioid use disorder. In addition, Governor Wolf worked with the legislature to pass and enact five key bills to decrease opioid abuse, announced more than 1,000 opioid overdoses were reversed with Naloxone, and launched Pennsylvania’s prescription drug monitoring program.

Changing Harrisburg

Governor Wolf’s continued his efforts to make state government more efficient, innovative, responsive, and accountable. GO-TIME announced first year savings of $156 million and a new goal of $500 million by 2020. Governor Wolf’s expansion of Medicaid gave health insurance to 700,000 Pennsylvanians and he fought to save health insurance for 180,000 seniors and 3,600 kids. Department of Human Services reduced the SNAP error rate to save $35 million. Online voter registration reached nearly one million users, PennDOT launched new innovations to improve DMV customer service, DMVA helped find housing for nearly 2,500 homeless veterans and Pennsylvania launched an extensive review of the state’s criminal justice system.

Legislative Victories

Despite historic Republican majorities in the legislature, Governor Wolf worked with the General Assembly to achieve significant victories to move Pennsylvania forward on many issues, including: legalizing medical marijuana and ride-sharing, implementing the most sweeping liquor reforms since Prohibition (including direct shipment of wine, ‘freeing the six-pack’ and wine in grocery stores), expanding unemployment compensation to nearly 50,000 middle-class workers, enabling non-violent offenders to have their records sealed to increase employment opportunities, finalizing new regulations on gas drillers to protect water and land, expanding protections for domestic violence victims, and helping prevent drunk driving with stronger penalties.

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