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Politics & Government

Corbett to Ask Lawmakers for a $10M Increase for Early Ed Grants

Gov. Tom Corbett plans to ask lawmakers for a $10 million increase for early education grants in his budget address next week.

The proposal would amount to a 16 percent increase in funding for the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program.

"Our Pre-K Counts programs consistently deliver high-quality pre-k education," Corbett said. "We’re not talking just babysitting, we’re talking care, we’re talking about teaching, we’re talking about nurturing."

Estimates show more than a one billion dollar deficit going into the fiscal year beginning in July.

But Corbett has given advance notice of a few other requested increases he plans to request in his spending plan — such as for abuse victims assistance and initiatives serving people with intellectual disabilities.

He says the boosts would not be contingent on finding savings through pension system overhauls, which he’s expected to outline in his budget address Tuesday.

Along with increasing spending on early education, Corbett is looking for an additional $22.4 million to help those with intellectual disabilities.The goal is to reducing the waiting list for state services while allowing approximately 1,100 additional Pennsylvanians to receive home- and community-based services.

Corbett said the services help individuals with intellectual disabilities remain active members in their communities.

“However, years of a waning funding commitment left many of these individuals on a long waiting list,” Corbett said.

The funds will focus on individuals who are “agingout” of the school support system.

“This to me is one of the best places that we can spend the money of the tax payers of Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “To take care of … those who cant take care of themselves in Pennsylvania.”

Beyond being the right thing to do, Corbett thinks the investment in home care will result in a boost to the economy.

“Caregivers should not have to choose between caring for a loved one and full-time employment,” Corbett said.