Pickett votes yes

 

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives took another important step today in adopting a balanced, on-time state budget, as the chamber advanced House Bill 1437, the House Republican budget proposal, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), who voted for the measure.

"The calendar is quickly approaching June 30, and the House version of the state budget meets all of our constitutional obligations by being balanced and making sure that spending meets revenue projections," Pickett said. "As a former member of the House Appropriations Committee, I know how important it is to keep moving the process forward, and today's vote represents positive progress in reaching that goal."

The $28.3 billion spending plan, as outlined in House Bill 1437, would increase spending about 2.1 percent over the current fiscal year. It makes a considerable investment in public education, with more than $10 billion in state aid being directed to kindergarten through 12th grade schools, more financial support for early childhood education, funding for mobile science centers, and grants to career and technical schools for equipment. Higher education subsidies for the state-owned and state-related universities are level funded.

"One of the core functions of government is that of education, and this budget proposal seeks to prioritize education," Pickett continued. "Contrary to claims that say otherwise, there has never been this amount of funding dedicated by state government for education, and that clearly shows where our priorities lie."

In addition to education, greater state funding is being directed through this proposal to health programs such as diabetes, epilepsy, ALS and lupus, as well as to the waiting list for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Rape crisis and domestic violence centers are slated to receive additional funding, along with home and community-based services for seniors. Along with public safety, funding is being made available to train and hire 300 additional state troopers.

The budget proposal advanced today also maintains a commitment to both the environment and agriculture with additional funding for various line items for conservation, revitalization and agriculture education.

"With this proposal, we are again responding to the challenges of our economy while also being mindful about those who are paying the bills - the taxpayers," Pickett added. "This no-tax increase, balanced budget addresses our critical services and does so in a responsible manner."

House Bill 1437 now heads to the state Senate as part of the ongoing negotiations for the 2013-14 state budget.

This article was submitted by Rep. Pickett's office.