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Education, Jobs Focus of Budget Proposal, but Local Communities Still Need Help

Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2018-2019 spending plan is focused on education and jobs which is an excellent direction to take, state Sen. Jim Brewster said, but he would also like to add dollars for programs that help all local communities.

“The governor has laid out a sensible, responsible and reasonable budget proposal,” Brewster said.  “It increases funds for schools and workforce development initiatives without a broad-based tax increase.

“The budget presentation is the first step in a process leading up to the adoption of a final spending plan.  My hope is that we can add new funding to this plan to help all municipalities.”

The governor’s $32.9 billion budget plan calls for an additional $225 million increase for education, with basic education receiving a $100 million boost.  The plan features a new $50 million investment in workforce development and adds $12 million to support the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training and Career Grant Program.

Brewster and his Senate Democratic colleagues earlier announced a three-bill manufacturing initiative that features significant job training investments.

Brewster, who is a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, said that municipal leaders have worked well with him and his office to fund key projects using state programs.  However, the senator noted, with more state funding resources additional local projects can be completed.

“We have many municipalities in our region that are hurting economically due to business dislocation, an older population and shrinking tax base,” Brewster said. “It is critical that resources to help these communities are part of the final budget.

“During the course of considering this year’s budget, my plan is to look for opportunities to bolster spending lines to help economic struggling municipalities,” Brewster said.  “Big cities have access to multiple revenue sources, but we need to make sure state resources are available to all municipalities and they are distributed equitably.”

The governor’s proposed budget represents a 3 percent increase over 2017-2018.  The budget plan will be examined closely during three weeks of hearings beginning on February 20.

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Senator Brewster’s Reaction to 2018-19 Budget Address