Budget Theme: Government that Works
As he has in previous years, Governor Wolf highlighted the need for “government that works” in his 2017-2018 budget address.
Gov. Wolf stated today that this budget “contains the largest cuts to, and consolidation of, government bureaucracy in our history.”
Beyond the cost-savings and consolidation efforts described in our general budget overview, the Governor is proposing other measures to ensure that Pennsylvanians are served by a government that works.
Consolidation of the Departments of Human Services, Health, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs will establish a single state authority of Medicaid purposes, streamlining the delivery of services and increasing participation in such services. The Governor is also proposing to consolidate some of the functions of the County Assistance Offices, and increasing funding to move individuals with intellectual duality and autism into services from the waiting list.
The Governor also proposed continued efforts to address opioid addiction through increased funding under the federal Cures Act, increased access to naloxone for first responders and a $3.4 million investment to expand specialty drug courts.
The Governor also proposed new efficiencies in the area of criminal justice. Under the second round of the federal Justice Reinvestment Act, reforms to our correctional system will include: presumptive parole, a statewide adult probation committee, short and effective sanctions for technical parole violators, reforms to admission policies for community corrections centers, sentencing and pretrial processes reform, and victim advocate supports. Additionally, the Governor is proposing funding for three new State Police Cadet Classes, as well as funding to support prevention, reporting and response efforts related to sexual assault on college campuses.
Finally, in an effort to keep our water clean, the 2017-2018 budget would use $15 million in bond proceeds to fund watershed protection activities. The Department of Agriculture will receive $4.7 million to develop erosion and sediment management plans, the Department of Environmental Protection will receive $8.3 million to address local water quality efforts, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will utilize $2 million to expand its Chesapeake Bay Riparian Forest Buffer Program.