Stephens: Wolf Budget Reforms a Good First Step
HARRISBURG- Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) applauded Gov. Tom Wolf for offering a $32.34 billion budget proposal that includes spending and governmental reforms.
“I certainly appreciate the new approach of looking for efficiencies and reforms within state government before seeking across-the-board sales and income tax increases as has been proposed in the past,” Stephens said. “The governor’s proposal though still calls for $1 billion in new revenues and I look forward to more details about where those revenues would come from.”
Stephens also argued that the reforms will require a careful evaluation by the legislature.
“We must focus on efficiency, but we must also make sure that services are maintained to preserve the health, safety and economic security of Pennsylvanians,” Stephens said.
The governor’s Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget increases spending $500 million over the current year. It would increase PreK-12 education by $458 million, of which $240 million would be for the Commonwealth’s contribution to state pension system.
The governor has proposed combining the departments of Human Services, Health, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs into one single department to be known as the Department of Health and Human Services.
The governor is also proposing combining the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole into a re-named Department of Criminal Justice. Stephens, a former prosecutor, cited this as an example of where the legislature must carefully review reforms to ensure we don’t jeopardize public safety.
“The governor’s proposal is innovative and complicated,” Stephens said. “Before we move on this, we must understand the extent of the savings and ramifications of the proposed reforms; however, this is a good first step.”
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster