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Harrisburg, February 7, 2017 — Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement after Governor Tom Wolf’s 2017-2018 Budget Address today:

“Pennsylvania must grapple with a structural deficit that is $3 billion and Governor Wolf has proposed a budget that comprehends the governing reality that Republicans overwhelmingly control the legislature.

The governor’s budget proposal begins the conversation. Governor Wolf has not called for broad based taxes and state spending will only increase 1.8% compared with the last fiscal year. The budget estimates $2 billion in savings from consolidating state programs, merging government departments, and curtailing spending.

Creating jobs and opportunities for working Pennsylvanians must be Harrisburg’s top priority and I am very concerned that this budget proposal lacks sufficient investments to advance Pennsylvania’s economic development strategy.

The proposed changes to the Growing Greener program raise concerns about its long-term funding outlook. Growing Greener has been an effective environmental program that blends conservation efforts with economic development – best exemplified by groups like the Earth Conservancy in Luzerne County who have used Growing Greener funds to transform mine-scarred land into greenspace as well as viable areas for development that will produce thousands of new jobs.

As the budget conversation stands today, working families and communities of northeastern Pennsylvania are going to be hurt if the partisan paralysis continues in Harrisburg and responsible solutions are not advanced to invest in jobs, cut property taxes and unleash a robust economy that creates opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.”