Action Plan for Pennsylvania
Action Plan for Pennsylvania
Whether as a business owner or governor, Tom Wolf is a leader consistently taking on the status quo and trying to help middle class families. And he is acting on his plan to change Harrisburg and moving Pennsylvania forward.
Since taking office, Tom has been focused on three simple goals: jobs that pay, schools that teach, and government that works.
Tom refuses the perks. He donates his salary to charity, he does not take a pension, and he signed an executive order preventing anyone in his administration from accepting gifts from lobbyists. Here’s Tom’s plan for Pennsylvania.
Reform Government and Cut Bureaucracy
As Governor, Tom has fought for a change to state government. Tom donates his entire salary to charity, refuses a state pension and signed an executive order prohibiting administration employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists.
Tom has eliminated more than $2.2 billion in government waste from the state budget and consolidated agencies.
Tom turned a $2.5 billion deficit into a surplus and made the first Rainy Day Fund deposit in nearly a decade.
Tom has made wholesale reforms to state government including pension reform that will save billions and the first liquor reform since prohibition.
We need a government that restores faith in the fundamental notion that our democracy still works while efficiently providing services to Pennsylvanians. Our government should be transparent and fully accountable, and taxpayers deserve to know how every penny is spent.
Tom is committed to government reforms that increase efficiency, reduce waste, and eliminate cronyism and corruption, and since his first days as governor, he has been praised statewide for his moves towards transparent government that works in Pennsylvania.
Tom is fighting for a full gift ban for all Pennsylvania officials along fairer campaign finance laws and stricter lobbying laws so that all elected officials are accountable to Pennsylvanians, not special interests.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Refuses a pension and donates his salary to charity.
- Banned administration officials and state employees from accepting gifts.
- Signed comprehensive pension reform which reduced risk to Pennsylvania taxpayers, continues to pay down our debt, and slashes Wall Street fees while still offering state employees fair benefits and easing the financial burden on our school districts in the long term.
- Modernized Pennsylvania’s archaic liquor system by allowing gas stations to sell beer and grocery stores to sell wine, as well as increasing hours at state stores and legalizing shipments of wine to people’s homes.
- Requires cabinet secretaries to post their expenses online each month. View the expenses dashboard.
- Established the Office of Performance through Excellence, an office that empowers employees to cut red tape, remove inefficiencies, provide value and improve customer service, while saving the commonwealth more than $373 million in the last two years.
- Fought for a fairer congressional map that aligns with the Pennsylvania Constitution and advocated for a fair redistricting process.
- Strengthened restrictions for lobbyists and special interests by requiring lobbying disclosure reports to be filed electronically with the Department of State and increased the penalty for not filing on time.
- Turned a $2.5 billion deficit into a surplus and made a $22 million transfer to Pennsylvania’s Rainy Day Fund, the first in nearly a decade.
- Launched the first statewide LGBTQ affairs commission in the nation.
- More than 1 million Pennsylvanians have used Governor Wolf’s online voter registration (OVR) site, register.votespa.com . The system, launched in August 2015 by Governor Wolf, has made it easier and more secure for citizens to register to vote and update their existing registrations.
Invest In Our Kids and Schools
Tom has made clear his strong commitment to education in Pennsylvania by fully restoring education funding cuts made in the previous administration, providing unprecedented support to high-quality pre-k programs, and ensuring students are career ready. He has fought for more education funding since day one, and he has made investments in our schools. Our children his top priority.
Tom is going to keep investing in our schools so students have the training to get jobs in Pennsylvania. He is working to increase classes in math, technology, science, and information technology. Tom knows that not every student is going to go to a four-year college, that’s why he made first-of-its-kind investment in workforce training and apprenticeship programs through his PAsmart initiative to improve opportunities for all students in Pennsylvania.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Established standards for computer science education in all Pennsylvania schools, joining fewer than a dozen states to endorse such standards.
- Fully restored the one billion dollar education cut made in the previous administration that that led to teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and program cuts.
- Enacted a fair funding formula that provides equitable, fair funding for all school districts.
- Increased the number of children able to attend pre-kindergarten by 60 percent.
- Increased high school graduation rate to 86.1 percent, placing Pennsylvania above the national average.
- Increased the number of career and technical education (CTE) students earning industry-recognized credentials by 32.2 percent and increased the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs by 28.4 percent.
- Advanced Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems and made the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates .
- Expanded enrollment in AP courses by 10 percent.
- Reduced the length of PSSA tests by 20 percent, condensed the exam timeframe from three weeks to two weeks and shifted it to later in the school year for students in grades three through eight.
- Created a task force to bring together officials, educators, parents, and students to talk to about ways to improve school safety and security.
- Established PAsmart, a first-of-its-kind $30 million workforce development initiative that invests $20 million in computer science and STEM education programs for k-12 students and $10 million to expand apprenticeships and industry partnerships.
- Signed an executive order to cut red tape and improve coordination between several state agencies to more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians.
Grow Jobs and Support Workers
Since day one, Tom has made “Jobs that Pay” a priority in Pennsylvania. Tom has travelled the commonwealth, hearing from business owners, industry leaders, and hardworking Pennsylvanians statewide about what the Wolf administration can do to help them thrive.
To rebuild the middle class, we need new ideas to create jobs that pay and policies that support our manufacturing and new growth industries. Coming from the private sector, Tom knows we must make new investments in 21st century manufacturing and refocus our economic development dollars and strategies. The commonwealth can help set the table for robust private sector growth to create and retain good jobs while strengthening the middle class.
He is going to keep fighting for commonsense policies that enable Pennsylvania businesses to succeed and workers to earn a fair wage. He has already taken steps to modernize Pennsylvania’s overtime rules, and is fighting to increase the minimum wage.
Tom also continues bolster Pennsylvania’s attractive economic climate for both small and large businesses, including Amazon which announced it is considering Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for its second headquarters. As more companies call Pennsylvania their home, Tom created a one-stop shop for businesses to get started in the commonwealth, and he is working to build a skilled workforce that can help companies thrive in a competitive economy.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Overhauling Pennsylvania’s overtime rules to increase the wages of up to 460,000 middle-class and working-class salaried workers in four years.
- Eliminated burdensome taxes on businesses like the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.
- Approved more than $1 million in funding through the new Manufacturing PA initiative for nine new training programs across Pennsylvania to give more than 300 job-seekers the skills they need to secure a stable, high-paying job in manufacturing.
- Will create an additional 15,000 jobs with the creation of a Shell Cracker Plant in Western Pennsylvania and investment in the Port of Philadelphia.
- Assisted more than 40,000 entrepreneurs and business owners by cutting through red tape and establishing the new PA Business One-Stop Shop .
- Created the Department of Labor & Industry’s Apprenticeship and Training Office to expand registered apprenticeships and increase participation of non-traditional businesses and under-represented Pennsylvanians.
- Increased participation from 725 registered apprenticeship programs and 13,282 registered apprentices to 767 programs and 16,511 active apprentices.
- Assisted nearly 3,000 companies in training more than 145,000 incumbent workers across the commonwealth to help employees develop new skills to thrive in their jobs.
- Took action to address the gender pay gap by signing an executive order that ends the practice of state agencies requiring a job applicant to provide their salary history during the hiring process.
- Cut through red tape by establishing the new PA Business One-Stop Shop , which has assisted nearly 60,000 entrepreneurs and business owners who have visited the website to learn how to start and grow a new business
Improve Health Care Access and Options
Tom took immediate actions to provide health insurance to more than 720,000 Pennsylvanians by expanding Medicaid, and has reduced the commonwealth’s uninsured rate to 5.6 percent, the lowest it has ever been.
Tom is fighting efforts in Washington to roll back the progress we have made. He is going to keep working to make sure Pennsylvanians have affordable health care options.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Expanded Medicaid, giving an additional 720,000 Pennsylvanians access to health care.
- Reduced Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate to 5.6 percent, the lowest it has ever been.
- Increased enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program by 21 percent. The program now serves nearly 180,000 Pennsylvania children.
- Legalized medical marijuana, providing long-overdue medical relief to patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease.
Protect Older Pennsylvanians
Tom understands that we must provide our seniors with the services they have earned. That’s why he is implementing Community HealthChoices, coordinated health care coverage that will serve 420,000 seniors in their homes and communities.
Soon there will be even more opportunities for seniors to stay in their homes because of Tom’s plan. He’s going to keep fighting for Pennsylvania’s seniors and make sure they have the resources they need.
Governor Wolf launched the Sheriff Senior Check-In Service, a three-county pilot reassurance program for older Pennsylvanians being conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Created the Nursing Home Quality Improvement Task Force to enhance the quality of care for seniors in long-term living facilities.
- Modernizing senior centers throughout Pennsylvania to improve security, technology, and enhance programming.
- Saved more than 180,000 seniors from losing their Medicare Advantage health plans.
- Fighting Republican efforts to institute a health care age tax and roll back prescription drug coverage for seniors.
- Secured an additional $2.1 million in funding to further protect older Pennsylvanians from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment.
- Partnered with stakeholders and planned Pennsylvania’s Inaugural LGBTQ Aging Summit to improve cultural competency and drive much-needed change to better serve LGBTQ seniors.
- Created Pennsylvania’s Alzheimer’s State Plan Task Force to take a lead role in implementing and championing the goals and recommendations of the State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders .
- Held community forums in senior centers throughout the state to educate older adults on how to protect themselves from financial scams and exploitation.
- Signed Act 48, increasing consumer protections for annuity purchases, which are often part of retirement financial planning.
Improve Transportation and Infrastructure
Pennsylvania is at the center of the largest market in the world, and Tom has worked to make sure Pennsylvania’s infrastructure can move goods and products to market so Pennsylvania businesses can compete globally.
Tom is going to keep investing in new infrastructure and fixing our roads and bridges because as the keystone state, we need to make sure our infrastructure is second to none.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Put out 960 bridge projects and 2,231 projects for roadway and other improvement projects worth approximately $8.6 billion since January 2015. View transportation construction projects .
- Improved travel for people and businesses by restoring 1,930 bridges and improving more than 20,400 miles of roadways.
- Announced a $2.1 billion investment in the Road Maintenance and Preservation (Road MaP) initiative which will especially improve Interstates and lower-traffic roadways.
- Reinforced the administration’s commitment to rural roads with new plans to improve more than 1,100 rural and low-volume roadway miles and rehabilitate or replace at least 85 municipally owned bridges over five years.
- Prioritized $181 million to accelerate repaving work on interstates and attack potholes across Pennsylvania.
- Committed resources to help Pennsylvania’s airports expand and enhance safety, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- Supported the maintenance and improvement of the roughly 5,600 miles of freight lines in the state. Pennsylvania, with 67 operating railroads, has more than any other state.
Fight the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
Tom has made fighting the opioid crisis a top priority of the administration and is continuing to work across the aisle to address this looming public health issue. Tom has provided funding to implement 45 centers of excellence (COE) throughout the commonwealth that to date have provided a level-of-care assessment for substance use disorder to more than 11,000 individuals, providing treatment to 71 percent of individuals in the first year of implementation.
Pennsylvania also launched a prescription drug monitoring program that will allow prescribers and dispensers to query and report information regarding the number of opioids prescribed, and to whom and announced new prescribing guidelines for the safe and effective use of opioids.
Recently, Tom renewed his 90-day opioid disaster declaration to continue to bolster the fight against heroin and opioid epidemic without interrupting ongoing initiatives that were introduced since the initial declaration in January 2018.
Tom is going to keep fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic by focusing more funding on treatment and making sure those who sell drugs in our communities are held accountable.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Signed Pennsylvania’s first-of-its-kind Statewide Disaster Declaration for the heroin and opioid epidemic to enhance state response, increase access to treatment, and save lives.
- Implemented more than 45 treatment centers that to date have provided a level-of-care assessment for substance use disorder to more than 11,000 individuals.
- Expanded Medicaid to more Pennsylvanians, which now covers substance use disorder care for over 125,000 Pennsylvanians.
- Secured $31.5 million in federal grants to support prevention, treatment, recovery, and career services.
- Equipped law enforcement, first responders, and schools with the overdose-reversing antidote naloxone, reversing nearly 8,603 heroin and opioid overdoses since 2014.
- Issued a standing order — a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual — for overdose-reversing antidote naloxone.
- Strengthened the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) , which enables health care providers to safely prescribe controlled substances to their patients. 97,000 registrants have conducted more than 1.1 million patient searches each month since the program became operational in 2016.
- Announced improved prescribing guidelines for the safe and effective use of opioids, including in sports medicine, for minors, and Pennsylvanians on Medicaid, as well as improved education for medical professionals on opioid prescribing.
- Launched a 24/7 helpline, 1-800-662-HELP, for those who need immediate assistance with drug and alcohol problems. More than 23,000 Pennsylvanians have contacted the statewide helpline for assistance.
- Established an Opioid Command Center located at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), which will house the Unified Opioid Coordination Group that will meet weekly during the disaster declaration to monitor implementation and progress of the initiatives in the declaration.
Energy and Environment
Tom has worked to protect Pennsylvania’s air, water, and land through smarter energy policy and conservation. One of Tom’s first actions in office was to reinstate the moratorium on new drilling leases in state forests and parks. He also is working to expand the use of alternative energy like solar and wind.
Tom has also continued to fight for a commonsense severance tax. A majority of Pennsylvanians support a severance tax and Pennsylvania is the only gas-producing state in the country without one. Pennsylvanians deserve to share in this prosperity. The special interests that are blocking this commonsense measure are a quintessential example of what’s wrong with Harrisburg.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Reinstated the moratorium on new leases for drilling in state parks and forests.
- Modernized and strengthened environmental protections at drilling gas sites in Pennsylvania.
- Increased oil and gas drilling inspections after switch to electronic process in 2017.
- Revived a program to fund new solar projects and the manufacture or assembly of solar equipment in the commonwealth.
- Strengthened Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act by requiring that solar renewable energy credits used in Pennsylvania must be generated in Pennsylvania.
- Worked to reduce energy consumption and increase renewable energy use in commonwealth buildings, and replace state vehicles with more efficient models.
- Implemented new general permits to reduce air pollution and establish a control threshold on methane emissions for unconventional natural gas wells and compression, processing, and transmission facilities.
- Signed legislation that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties.
- Secured increased funding for the Department of Environmental Protection in order to help it fulfill its mission of protecting Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and to providing for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment.
- Moved forward with enhanced building codes to help save Pennsylvanian’s money on utilities, improve energy efficiency, and enhance safety.
- Provided enhanced protections to dozens of streams across Pennsylvania in order to reduce pollution, protect aquatic life, and provide recreational opportunities for anglers and tubers alike.
Since his days in the Peace Corps, Tom has understood the power of agriculture to change lives. He recognized the $135.7 billion impact the industry has on our economy, and forged a partnership of leaders from every sector of the agriculture and food industry to work together to ensure future prosperity. He has focused strategic investments in building the infrastructure we need to expand trade opportunities and meet rapidly growing demand for quality Pennsylvania products at home and abroad.
Tom has expanded opportunities at every educational level to build the skilled workforce the industry needs to succeed, pointing students toward science, technology, engineering and math careers in agriculture that will be waiting when they finish school. He has brought unprecedented focus on the trends that both challenge agriculture and threaten its growth, and has planted the seeds for industry success in the years to come.
Here’s what he’s done:
- Launched a plan, including new funding , to guide Pennsylvania’s dairy industry toward growth and development.
- Prioritized critical investments to combat invasive species .
- Announced a new initiative to cultivate the next generation of Pennsylvania farming.
- Supported more than 100 farms with nearly $40 million in funding to support expansion and succession plans.
- Provided more growing and harvesting opportunities by advanced industrial hemp research projects throughout Pennsylvania.
- Signed legislation allowing for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp in the commonwealth for the first time in 80 years. Now in its second growing season, Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp program has approved 39 projects, authorized to grow hemp on 1,000 acres in 25 counties across the state.