Republican budget bill risks public health and safety
Pennsylvania has a revenue problem created by Republicans. Their budget bill makes it worse.
One week remains before the fiscal year starts anew. If the House and Senate send to Gov. Wolf the House Republican budget bill passed in April, public health and safety is automatically put at risk.
Severe cuts in the House Republican budget bill (H.B. 218) would devastate Pennsylvania's fight against heroin addiction.
Heroin and opioid abuse is the worst public health crisis Pennsylvania has ever faced.
We lose 13 people a day to overdose deaths in Pennsylvania, and almost no family or community has gone untouched.
Last year, more than 3,500 lives were saved in PA using naloxone.
The Republican budget eliminates $10 million to get naloxone out to residents and first responders in our communities.
The Republican budget also reduces funding for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and Behavioral Health Services.
Those cuts will jeopardize efforts to stop addiction and abuse before it happens and to provide treatment and save lives once it does.
A fully funded budget balanced with recurring, sustainable revenues is the only way to maintain support for the work being done at the state, county and local level to reduce the impact of the heroin crisis on our families and communities.
The Republican budget also includes huge cuts in state police funding, complicating efforts to make sure all communities and resident in Pennsylvania are safe.
The Republican plan ignores several proposals that could provide tens of millions of dollars in investments to help the state police.
By ignoring those investments and failing to propose other revenues, the Republicans create a $91 million shortfall in the state police budget.
That shortfall could force the elimination of upcoming trooper cadet classes and require trooper furloughs.
State police are already 500 troopers below their full complement, and another 1,500 troopers are nearing eligibility for retirement.
The chickens from Republicans' last six budgets built on fiscal gimmicks, one-time borrowing and phony revenue projections are coming home to roost in a big way.
We are well past the point of being able to balance the budget with cuts -- we're no longer talking about cutting waste, fraud and abuse.
We're talking about cuts that eliminate our ability to protect public health and safety and pay for core services like education.
Pennsylvania has a revenue problem created by Republicans.
In their budget bill, they simply make it worse.
It's time for a new way forward.