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Tobash Says Proposed House Budget Directs More Funds to Education, Less to Welfare

Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) said today the House is planning to amend Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal to redirect more than $400 million away from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to support education in the Commonwealth.


“I think most people agree with the governor’s efforts to bring state spending under control but want to re-order our priorities to invest more in the future of our children,” Tobash said. “I believe we can reduce funding to DPW without hurting the people who truly need the safety net of these benefits.”


Corbett proposed a $27.3 billion budget that cuts spending by 3 percent in comparison to the current year’s budget.  That spending anticipates a 4 percent growth rate in state revenues, and the House plan would maintain that same level of spending. The proposal cuts $470 million from the governor’s proposed welfare budget but improves flexibility at the local level through the restoration of the Human Service Development Fund.


The plan would restore some of the funding to public schools and universities that the governor proposed to cut. K-12 education funding would increase by $200 million, including funds through the reinstatement of the Accountability Block Grant program, which provides more flexibility in how school officials choose to spend the money. The plan also would restore some funding for State System of Higher Education schools and state-related universities, including Penn State.


“Educating our children is a very important investment in our state’s future, but we also must take steps to improve the jobs climate to protect that investment,” Tobash said. “Too many young people are forced to leave the area or the state because there aren’t sufficient job opportunities here. We need to strive for quality and cost-effective education to help facilitate job growth. Affordable and marketable education that is focused on the needs of business is a fundamental building block of a thriving economy.”


Budget negotiations among the administration, the Senate and the House are ongoing. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the budget bill on Wednesday, and the full House could vote on it as early as the week of May 23.


State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact:  Patricia Hippler
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