Harrisburg, February 7, 2017 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today provided the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2017-18 state budget proposal:

“This is a lean budget for lean times.

“In the face of a daunting deficit, the governor’s proposal would invest scarce revenues wisely while stressing spending cuts and service consolidation over tax hikes.

“While this frugal approach would help meet the state’s financial challenges head on, I am pleased that the governor has found a way to provide $200 million more for our schools. These additional state dollars would give our students the resources they need while helping local schools hold the line on property taxes.

“I’m especially encouraged by the governor’s emphasis on job growth and investment in Pennsylvania’s struggling manufacturing sector. This investment in our workers and economy would help shore up the state’s financial standing.

“Complementing the governor’s proposal to implement a job training apprenticeship program, I enthusiastically support his “Manufacturing PA” initiative that ties in research universities and Industrial Resource Centers to help generate 6,000 manufacturing jobs, leverage $30 million in matching funds and pump $950 million dollars into our economy.

“I was also pleased that the governor has proposed incorporating a minimum wage increase into the budget equation. Numerous studies have shown that a moderate minimum wage hike would relieve stress on taxpayer-funded assistance programs, inject more spending dollars into our economy and help struggling working families make ends meet. It’s important to emphasize that Pennsylvania has not had a minimum wage hike since 2009.

“While I am encouraged with the governor’s budget blueprint, it will now be the legislature’s responsibility to carefully review and fine tune the spending plan. With proposed agency and service consolidation plans before us, we must approach this year’s budget negotiation in a constructive and bipartisan way.”

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