Corbett declined to say where the budget could be cut to come up with the additional $20 million, which he called a "re-prioritization." In difficult economic times with many seeking funding but a finite amount of money to go around, he said, "these people deserve to be first in line."
The governor made reference to angry protests across the state last year when he proposed, and the Legislature approved, ending the decades-old General Assistance program that provided more than 60,000 participants with $200 monthly payments. Opponents said the program, eliminated Aug. 1 to save about $150 million a year, was a last resort for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents, including homeless and disabled people, abused women and recovering addicts.
"A lot of people were upset when we cut general assistance ... but the needs are many, the funds are few, and that was before I understood this," Corbett said.
He said it made no sense to provide cash assistance to those who are able to help themselves and are "people in much better physical and mental shape than these individuals."