HARRISBURG, May 9, 2012 – Following Senate passage of a $27.6 billion budget plan, state Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery) called the plan a step towards a budget that truly reflects the needs of all Pennsylvania’s citizens. The plan restores over $500 million to the budget proposed by Governor Tom Corbett.

Senate Bill 1466 makes key restorations to basic and higher education, human services programs, hospitals, nursing homes and services for individuals with disabilities.

“Senate Democrats have said for months that budget cuts do not have to be as deep as proposed by Governor Corbett in his February budget address,” Hughes said. “I am pleased that my Republican colleagues in the Senate have heard our message and included many of our budget priorities in this proposal. This is the first step of many in the budget process and this spending plan moves us forward in crafting a budget plan that significantly reflects the priorities of Pennsylvanians.”

Although there is progress, Hughes expressed his disappointment of the lack of funding for General Assistance, transition grants which are used mainly by abused women, disabled individuals and children without custodial parents. He also expressed concern regarding the level of funding for Child Care Services and there is still no plan to restore adultBasic or important job creation programs.

“We remain very concerned about what is not included in this budget, especially the cuts to General Assistance funding,” Hughes added. “This is a critical lifeline to many vulnerable people. As revenues continue to improve, we will continue to fight for a full restoration of this funding in addition to other key investments to grow Pennsylvania’s economy and boost job creation.

“We still have a distance to go before we reach a final budget that is representative of the needs of all Pennsylvania citizens,” Hughes said. “This budget is a good document, not a great one. This is a step forward.”

Senate Bill 1466 now goes to the House for its consideration.