Right now, she can expect the aid and support of our many programs for children as well as the love of her parents.

Chloe has a wonderful life. She adores her brother, Nolan, and he adores her.

Along with the love of her family, Chloe receives the benefits the state has in place for children with special needs.

As her dad says, “You want your kids to be healthy and happy, and safe and productive members of the community. She’s on track to do all that.”

But eventually, Chloe will become a young adult and “age out” of that benefit system.

Her mom and dad will, like all of us, someday grow old and be unable to support her.

I am determined that by the time Chloe, and the thousands of other young people with disabilities, have reached adulthood, they will be able to step into a full and active life as citizens of this state.

These young people and their families have waited long enough. We will find a way to erase this waiting list.

I asked Chloe and her family to be here today so I could make that promise in person.

And I hope you in the General Assembly will help me keep that promise.

My budget will dedicate $40 million dollars to provide critical services to an additional 3,000 men, women and children with physical and intellectual disabilities. This will allow them to live independently in their homes and communities.

It means we will help more people with autism and Down syndrome and serve more people living with physical disabilities.

When it comes to children, we must spare no effort.

My budget proposes that we assist more than 210,000 low-income families and enable 1,400 children now on waiting lists to receive child-care assistance.

This budget includes more than $8 million in additional resources to provide health care coverage to more than 9,300 additional children through CHIP.

At the same time we also need to reach those in rural and underserved areas of the state.

We have many great hospitals and local clinics that provide first-rate health care to our citizens.

But not everyone can reach those clinics.

Some of our health clinics get few visitors, but we know there are people out there who need their services.

If they can’t reach us, then we need to reach them.

I am proud to join with Senator Ted Erickson in proposing to invest $4 million dollars in the creation of the Community-Based Health Care Program to bring care to those citizens.

This budget will also expand the Primary Health Practitioner Loan Repayment program. It will assist us in recruiting more physicians, dentists, and other health practitioners, to work in rural areas and in communities that lack sufficient medical care.

Caring for Our Senior Citizens

Right now, Pennsylvania has the fourth highest percentage of seniors in the United States and their number is growing. In 17 years, one Pennsylvanian out of four will be 60 or older.

That is nearly one million more senior citizens who will depend on the services funded by our state Lottery.