Gov. Tom Corbett—while calling for more attention to mental illness in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings—would not commit Thursday to increased funding for mental health treatment.
The governor said it is too early in the budget process to commit to increasing or decreasing funding for anything. His remarks came during a press conference at St. Barnabas' Crystal Conservatories in Valencia after a Presents for Patients presentation.
Last week, the governor stressed the need to look at mental illness as reporters at a press conference pressed him on whether he would support a ban on assault weapons.
"It doesn’t matter whether it is an assault weapon or a handgun, it’s the mental illness issue that we have to work as much as we possibly can on,” the governor said, according to an article on phillyburbs.com.
As for the budget, Corbett said more revenue is coming into the state's coffers. But Corbett said the fiscal cliff leaves him wondering if millions in federal dollars will be cut from Pennsylvania's budget, including $300 million in non-defense funding and $1.3 billion in defense spending.
Corbett did make one commitment—he said he will not increase taxes.
"I have to deal with the monies we have," Corbett said, adding that the state budget must be balanced.
He promoted block grants for counties to give them the flexibility to spend the money where it is needed, whether it is mental health treatment or social services.
Last year 20 counties—including Allegheny, Butler and Beaver—received block grants out of 30 counties that applied, he said.
Many governors—Democrats and Republicans—are calling for the federal government to give states that same kind of flexibility, Corbett said.
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