Oct. 17, 2017

Gubernatorial veto could cost Pennsylvania taxpayers millions of dollars
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Buter) today in Harrisburg joined a group of legislators who held a Capitol news conference calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to sign into law a bill that would reform Pennsylvania’s welfare system and could save taxpayers millions of dollars.

“The Commonwealth can’t afford to pass over these savings at a time when it’s staring at a multi-billion dollar deficit,” James said.

The bill includes some provisions that allow the state to access federal funds for human services programs. If the governor vetoes the bill, the state would lose more than $30 million in federal funds through one specific federal funding stream.

The legislation also calls for enacting job search, work and volunteer requirements for some welfare recipients who could be, but are not currently, working. While nearly six out of every 10 Medicaid-qualified people already work, that still leaves approximately 350,000 qualified Pennsylvanians who are not working.

“We want to enact some basic, reasonable work requirements,” James said. “We hope the governor will sign the bill and work with us to control rising costs in this area of the budget.”

The House and Senate approved the comprehensive welfare reform proposal as a complement to the state budget. The bill defines how money would be spent by the state Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS spending amounts to 38 percent of the total state budget. While the state budget allocates money, this legislation – House Bill 59 – would formulate where and how the money is spent on welfare and human services programs.

“More than one out of every three dollars in the state budget is spent on human service programs,” James said. “This bill seeks to contain costs in this area by implementing commonsense reforms.”

Since the bill already was approved by the state House and Senate, Wolf now has the option to sign the bill into law, veto it, or take no action and allow the bill to become law without his signature.

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Dan Massing
RepJames.com / Facebook.com/RepLeeJames