HARRISBURG – Local state house members went along with the state house on Friday, passing a nearly $41 billion state budget with what Valley state representatives say is a fair amount of bipartisan support for investments in schools and continuing help for pandemic recovery.
State House members David Rowe (R-85th, Lewisburg) and Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108th, Sunbury) released statements of approval for the plan.
Rowe says, “Despite Gov. Wolf’s bulldozing of our economy, we successfully crafted a budget that includes no increased taxes or fees.” He goes on to say, “We do not want to repeat history in the mismanagement of emergency funds, and now, we are depositing $2.5 billion into the Rainy Day Fund to protect Pennsylvanians. The pandemic taught us the importance of planning accordingly, which this budget does.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Culver says “This budget continues our trend of investing in our children by allocating a record $13.5 billion for PreK-12 education. I’m also very happy to see that all school districts in the 108th District will receive increased funding for the support and resources our students need.”
The budget passed the House Friday with bipartisan support on a 140-61 vote, and the Senate approved it 43-7, it requires no tax increases and the local house members said it directs more money to schools and human services programs. Supporters said the plan meets critical needs and offers a financial safety net for the future.
The governor says he’ll sign it. The bill had both republicans and democrats voting for, and against it, some of those voting ‘no’ said the budget contained several missed opportunities to expand funding for education, economic development, and child care. State Senator John Gordner (R-27th, Berwick) voted for the budget. You can read more of the lawmaker’s remarks at WKOK.
State Rep. David Rowe (R-Snyder/Union)
HARRISBURG – The $39.8 billion budget approved by the House of Representatives on Friday supports core government services, fiscal responsibility long-term budget solvency, and protects the Commonwealth’s future, according to Rep. David Rowe (R-Snyder/Union).
The budget allocates an additional $1 billion in federal relief funds to nursing homes, transportation infrastructure, career and technical schools, emergency medical services, and the ongoing pandemic response.
“Despite Gov. Wolf’s bulldozing of our economy, we successfully crafted a budget that includes no increased taxes or fees,” Rowe said. “We do not want to repeat history in the mismanagement of emergency funds, and now, we are depositing $2.5 billion into the Rainy Day Fund to protect Pennsylvanians. The pandemic taught us the importance of planning accordingly, which this budget does.”
The budget plan includes:
- New Office of Election Audits under the auditor general’s office.
- Funds for two new cadet classes for the Pennsylvania State Police.
- A $30 million increase in Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
- An additional $300 million for Basic Education Funding and an additional $50 million for special education funding.
- Allocations to serve an additional 832 people with intellectual disabilities.
State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder)
HARRISBURG – Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) today in Harrisburg voted for Senate Bill 255, the General Appropriations portion of the state budget, which was approved by the House of Representatives. The 2021-22 Pennsylvania budget would spend $39 billion in General Fund dollars, and $1 billion in federal relief funds, to fund the core functions of government services, prioritize education and support Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens, all while avoiding any new or increased taxes.
The spending plan would increase basic education by $300 million, early childhood education by $30 million, and special education by $50 million. Additionally, to support children who have suffered educational losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget allocates $350 million in federal relief funds for learning loss, summer enrichment and after-school programs.
“This budget continues our trend of investing in our children by allocating a record $13.5 billion for PreK-12 education,” said Culver. “I’m also very happy to see that all school districts in the 108th District will receive increased funding for the support and resources our students need.”
Recognizing the ongoing costs related to COVID-19 mitigation, this budget allocates $282 million in federal relief funds to help nursing homes, assisted living and personal care homes with costs related to personal protective equipment, staff testing and other pandemic related costs. This budget also includes money to provide services for people living with intellectual disabilities as well as community-based services for older Pennsylvanians.
“Our nursing homes and assisted living facilities were absolutely rocked by COVID-19,” Culver continued. “As they continue to fight and struggle through this pandemic, we are duty-bound to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
In addition to keeping taxes level, the budget would secure Pennsylvania’s fiscal future by depositing more than $2.5 billion into the Rainy Day Fund and preserving more than $5 billion of federal funds to be used in future budgets.
“After what we saw when previous administrations were quick to spend leftover federal stimulus funds from the 2008 recession, we are working to avoid repeating history,” Culver said. “As we have seen over the past year and a half, anything can happen. We need to be prepared for if, and when, it does.”
Senate Bill 255, once signed in both the House and the Senate, will be sent to the governor for his signature.
For more information about this legislation, or any other state-related issue, contact Culver’s district office in Sunbury located at 106 Arch St., by calling 570-286-5885, or toll-free at 1-800-924-9060. Information can also be found online at LyndaCulver.com or Facebook.com/RepCulver.