(HARRISBURG) – Senator Judy Ward (R-30) supported passage of a $25.8 billion interim state budget proposal that funds most state departments and agencies for five months to buy additional time to deal with the damages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – and Governor Wolf’s response to the crisis.
She issued the following statement regarding the short-term budget plan today:
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe this budget is a smart approach by temporarily funding core services for five months based on present funding levels. With the statewide closure of businesses, unprecedented levels of unemployment and the need to move the state tax deadline to July 15, this interim budget will provide the legislature time to evaluate the true financial picture of this Commonwealth.
“We still have no idea when Governor Wolf will allow Pennsylvanians to get back to work, how his mandates will affect employers going forward, or what assistance we might get from the federal government in the future. Until we have a clearer picture of what the landscape will look like a few months from now, providing short-term funding and maintaining the flexibility to respond to future challenges is the most fiscally responsible thing we can do.”
Ward also supported a package of bills that will deliver $2.6 billion of Pennsylvania’s share of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to fund vital community needs, including $692 million for increased testing, infection control and personal protective equipment to support residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
As Chair of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, Ward led a hearing earlier this month that exposed gross inadequacies regarding the Wolf Administration’s treatment of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. She issued the following statement about the new funding today:
“The need to protect some of the state’s most vulnerable patients in long-term care facilities is very apparent, and we owe it to the residents, staff and their families to ensure they have what they need to fight the spread of this virus. I am grateful that the General Assembly is leading the way in providing these new resources to nursing homes to keep residents and staff safe.
“Long-term care facilities were already struggling financially even before the pandemic started, and COVID-19 has pushed many of these organizations to the brink. This new funding offers a lifeline to ensure these facilities can continue to meet the needs of patients and ultimately save lives as we continue to deal with this crisis in the months ahead.”
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner – email@example.com