News

Wolf's budget proposal ups DHS funding by nearly $1B

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 10, 2016 2:08 PM
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Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Tom Wolf is calling for a more than $2 billion increase in state spending and a tax hike to pay for the new programs.

One state agency gets a particularly big boost in the governor's budget proposal: the state Department of Human Services.

DHS is responsible for Medicaid, programs for people with intellectual disabilities, and child care and child welfare services.

Governor Wolf is proposing to raise the state's share of spending for the agency by nearly one billion dollars over the current fiscal year, bringing the total cost to more than $12.6 billion.

Secretary Ted Dallas says some of the money is required.

"A big part of our budget increase this year is related to these factors. Whether it's changes the federal government made, whether it's increased use of existing programs, or some of the one-time revenues and trying to get those fixed," says Dallas.

But Dallas also wants his department to spend money on other new programs, like one that will reach out to new parents to make sure their children are getting the care they need.

"Visiting parents, giving them those skills, making sure those kids are okay, making sure they're ready for school, making sure that they do well in school, making sure they go on to a good college," he adds.

"These are the kind of investments that will pay off for us in the future. That $10 million that we're going to spend now will come back to us ten-fold as those kids grow up and as those families move forward."

Dallas says his department has also delayed a payment from the fourth quarter of this year to next fiscal year, which explains some of the increase.

With more than $2.5 billion in tax increases, many House Republicans are already rejecting the governor's proposal.

The GOP controls both the House and Senate.

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