HARRISBURG, February 5, 2013 — State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding Gov. Corbett’s proposed $28.4 billion budget.

“Today the Governor expressed optimism for our state but there was little in his budget – or in his policy priorities – to convey confidence or optimism to the people of Pennsylvania”.

“We should be focusing our energy and our resources on jobs and economic growth – but these issues are not foremost in the Governor’s spending plan. Pennsylvania currently ranks 34th out of 50 states in job growth and steep declines in sales tax revenues evidence further deterioration in consumer confidence. There is little in the Governor’s budget, or in his policy priorities, that will change this economic trajectory.”

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“As it relies upon one-time, unconventional revenue sources, the Governor’s budget is speculation at best and it is not focused on our long term economic vitality. The Governor proposes to balance the budget with $50 million from an ill-advised lottery privatization; a speculative $100 million plus from so-called “pension reform”; and $1 billion for public education – but only if we put 5,000 state workers out of a job and set up 20,000 new retail outlets to dispense alcohol across the state.”

“The Governor also noted today that we need to work together to provide access to greater and affordable health care. With 500,000 working class Pennsylvanians without health insurance and forced away from preventive care and into the highest cost access point to our health care system – emergency rooms – we simply cannot afford a budget proposal that leaves an estimated $675 million in federal assistance on the table.”

“Fortunately, the General Assembly will have a say in the final 2013-14 spending plan for this Commonwealth. The Governor’s budget, as a starting point, has us pointed in the wrong direction. We can and we will do better.”

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