Harkins supports governor’s proposed investments in education, vulnerable citizens

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address today.

“I listened intently to Governor Wolf lay out his vision for the 2022-23 budget, and I was encouraged to hear his commitment to fairly fund education at all levels. Applying a fair funding formula across the board is the best way we have to ensure our own students here in Erie receive the level of resources they deserve – and the ones already benefiting students in wealthier ZIP codes. Fair funding would also lessen the burden on local taxpayers.

“With our aging population in mind, it was encouraging to hear the governor address the need to fund and pay home health care workers at a rate that supports and acknowledges the difficult and essential work they do. Increased funding for nursing facilities and behavioral health care providers means better care for our most vulnerable residents.

“The relative financial stability we are enjoying right now affords us the ability to pay our bills while at the same time fortifying programs and services that have been overlooked and neglected for too long. I am looking forward to working with both my Republican and Democratic colleagues to see if further investments from the billions in the Rainy Day fund can address continuing crisis areas. We have an opportunity now to address critical needs without raising taxes.

“Keep in mind that what the governor has laid out are just proposals; it will be a long road to the final budget in June. I plan to be an active part of the discussion as I work with my colleagues to arrive at sensible investments and financial solutions that keep us moving forward.”