Berks

Wolf's budget proposal draws mixed reaction in Berks

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is facing a difficult task -- erasing a projected $3-billion deficit, but he said lawmakers can do just that.

Wolf released his proposed state budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year on Tuesday. The plan involves major tax hikes or cuts to schools, but includes more than $2 billion in cuts and savings.

Charging areas covered by state police is one of the proposals.

Marcus Dolny, Topton's borough manager, understands the logic, but worries that price will keep going up.

"Once you create it, it's much easier to increase it," said Dolny. "Unfortunately, police service has become a very costly and unaffordable for most small municipalities."

Dolny said the police department covering the borough disbanded in 2013.

"There are communities out there that aren't in the same funds constraints or are much larger municipalities that are using state police forces," said Dolny.

Other proposals include selling unused state-owned land and slashing tax credits and school transportation aid.

On the other hand, Wolf also stressed the top of his spending list.

"There should be no greater priority for our government than educating our children," Wolf said.

Andrew Potteiger, the Brandywine Heights Area School District superintendent, called it a hopeful message for local schools.

"Any money we can use to offset that from the state level will help our taxpayers here," Potteiger said.

Potteiger said the school district would see increases for regular and special education as well as investments in early childhood.

"These kids are our future, and I think the governor gets that. It is really promising to be in Pennsylvania to see that investment in education," said Potteiger.


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