By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) — Just two weeks before his annual budget address, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett is making known that he’ll ask the state legislature for more money to assist people with intellectual disabilities.
Now midway into his first term, Gov. Corbett says there are “many causes crying out for funding.”
“The needs are many, the funds are few,” he said today during a visit to the Philadelphia headquarters of United Way.
But, he says, the Commonwealth “has an obligation to look after members of society who, through no failing of their own, cannot care for themselves,” especially those with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, or Fragile X syndrome.
The state’s Department of Welfare says that 15,000 people are already on its waiting list for emergency services, which may include placement in a group home or other facility.
“I’m going to propose an additional $20 million, to reduce the wait list by another 1,200 people,” Corbett said, “and we intend to keep working at this until we’ve broken through the wall that stands between our absolute neediest citizens and the services that they need.”
The governor said he was troubled deeply that Pennsylvania has not been meeting its obligation to its neediest residents. He paused, then recalled being moved by the stories of some families in need.
“And frankly, I believe many of us did not know what was out there,” he said.
Corbett delivers his budget to the legislature on February 5th.