Harrisburg, February 4, 2014 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today provided the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2014-15 state budget proposal.

“Like all budgets, there are things you like – and things you don’t.

While I applaud the governor for finally proposing greater investment in job training and educational programs, I believe we should have been making a greater commitment to proven programs that create jobs and help businesses succeed and expand over the past three years. While this new concentration is welcome, the fact that it’s coming so late in the game will not help us catch up to where we’ve fallen behind.

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Pennsylvania has fallen from the top 10 in job creation to a pathetic 48th. We need to take steps to change that.

The state’s film tax credit program is a good example of a program that brings in far more dollars than we expend. With bipartisan support for expanding the program, I was disappointed that the governor proposed freezing the program at last year’s level.

Also, I cannot fathom why the governor continues to reject Medicaid expansion, which would bring $400 million in budget cost savings, provide health coverage for 500,000 people and help create 35,000 jobs.

I was also disappointed that the governor didn’t even mention raising the minimum wage. I believe we should gradually increase it to $10.10 by 2015. It’s worth noting that every $1 dollar increase in the minimum wage sparks a spending increase in low-wage household by $2,800 dollars. This small economic policy change would infuse new dollars into the market and create even more jobs.

Now that the budget is in the legislature’s hands, it is imperative that we take steps to sustain and enhance some of these renewed funding commitments without trying to balance the budget by a misguided pension overhaul because the Commonwealth continues to fail to live up to its obligations.”

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