HARRISBURG, June 7, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today joined a host of Senate Democrats at a Capitol news conference to provide an update on caucus budget priorities and to call for key restorations before the final state budget is enacted.

“The cost savings proposals and the essential funding restorations that we talked about today are the same ones that Senate Democrats have discussed since the Appropriations Committee hearings in March,” Blake said. “It is imperative in the weeks ahead that we discuss responsible compromises that restore funding to education and other critical state programs that are proven, successful and necessary state investments.”

Blake said that the Senate Democrats believe that any enacted state budget should restore funding to basic education, higher education and our Medical Colleges; ensure Tobacco Settlement Funds are used to support health care initiatives in accordance with Act 77; maintain vital job retention, job creation and job training programs as we try to exit a deep recession; restore Medical Assistance in-patient grants and uncompensated care subsidies to our hospitals; keep critical safety net programs such as the Human Service Development Fund and the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program; sustain domestic violence and rape crisis assistance; and restore grants to the arts.

“Utilizing a portion of the excess revenue realized in this fiscal year, as well as implementing the cost savings proposals advanced by the Senate Democratic Caucus will enable funding restorations in this year’s budget so less pain is inflicted on Pennsylvania citizens and families and so cost shifting to those least able to afford it is avoided,” Blake added.

The Pennsylvania Constitution requires that the legislature enact a balanced state budget before July 1 each year.

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