HARRISBURG, February 7, 2017 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding Governor Wolf’s proposed $32.3 billion state budget:

“Governor Wolf, since the start of his administration, has been demanding efficiency, better performance and savings in the operations of state government. That work certainly has paid some dividends and it will continue to drive, perhaps more than anything else, this year’s budget process.”

“The Governor’s proposed 2017-18 has a number of important initiatives that I support, and have supported since taking office in 2011, to streamline state government and invest in areas most important to the citizens of Pennsylvania. This budget proposal uses state revenues more effectively to fund what the people of Pennsylvania want and deserve – an increase in state support for basic education, special education and Pre-K; adequate funding to serve the needs of our seniors and persons with disabilities; state investment to assure proper treatment and healing for those caught in the tragedy of the opioid epidemic; and it continues the role of state government in workforce development and investment in infrastructure to leverage private investment to ensure vitality in our cities and our communities.”

“The Governor has again called for a severance tax on the natural gas industry to better compensate Pennsylvanians for the volume of natural gas extracted from our state. I have supported a responsible, reasonable severance tax since coming to Harrisburg. Additionally, Governor Wolf has proposed combined reporting for Pennsylvania businesses – which reflects a bill I have previously introduced in past legislative sessions and will reintroduce shortly. Moving to a system of combined reporting – as at least 24 other states have done – would advance tax fairness by effectively closing the so-called “Delaware Loophole” and ensuring we stop legal tax avoidance by large, multi-national and multi-state corporations.”

“I commend the Governor and his team for taking an aggressive tact in balancing this year’s budget while sending a positive message to capital markets that we will have a sustainable plan to meet our future obligations to the citizens of this state.”

“As a member of the Senate Democratic leadership team and the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to debating the specifics of this budget and to our continued work on reforming property taxes and state pension systems which I believe will be important issues in the coming budget debate.”

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