SCRANTON, April 28, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today spoke about funding opportunities and the challenges facing the Pennsylvania legislature as the state’s population continues to age.

Participating as a panelist at the University of Scranton’s Conference on Aging Research, Blake said that with more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians set to turn 65 over the next 15 years, the legislature needs to work toward innovative solutions that will allow the state to continue to adequately fund programs that are essential to our elder residents.

“The University of Scranton is beginning to set the bar for research on aging issues and their research efforts can inform the decisions we must make as policy makers in this state,” Blake said. “It is my hope that as we move forward out of the current recession, Pennsylvania will be able to provide the essential services and care not only to our seniors but to the members of their families who are often the key providers of that care — and data from good research is the key to ensure we spend money wisely.”

Blake said that he was encouraged by the funding levels proposed for senior programs in Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal, specifically the $26.5 million increase in programs funded under the state’s Lottery Funds. These funds are used to support initiatives such as property tax and rent rebates, transportation subsidies, prescription drug assistance, long‐term care, and home and community services.

Senator Blake also extended thanks to Acting Secretary Brian Duke for his visit to Northeast PA and for lending his professional experience to the important work being done at the University of Scranton. Also graduate of the University of Scranton, Duke was the keynote speaker at the conference.

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