Key Points from Senate Budget Hearings Tuesday, March 8

HARRISBURG – The Department of Human Services was the sole focus of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Tuesday budget hearing about the governor’s proposed 2022-23 state budget.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.

Department of Human Services (Part 1)

Senate Aging and Youth Committee Chair Judy Ward (R-30) urged Acting Secretary Meg Snead to consider the true costs of proposed increased staffing mandates for Pennsylvania nursing homes already struggling to find employees.

Several committee members raised concerns with the acting secretary regarding the potential that the new contracts being negotiated between the Commonwealth and healthcare providers could require use of only a unionized workforce at hospitals and other healthcare facilities and concerns that this could limit access to care for Medicaid patients. Other topics covered were funding for Medical Assistance for Workers with Disability and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Department of Human Services (Part 2)

Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) explored whether the number of non-disabled adults ages 19-64 who receive benefits is increasing or decreasing, noting that the Commonwealth would benefit greatly with more individuals able to work being part of the workforce.

Other topics included the administration’s plan to close the White Haven and Polk state centers, which provide care for people with severe intellectual disabilities, support for Pennsylvanians with Alzheimer’s and concern about the flat funding of homeless assistance.

You can find livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.

 

CONTACT: Matt Moyer mmoyer@pasen.gov