HARRISBURG – State Reps. Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland) and Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) today in Harrisburg voted for the state budget bill approved by the House that would fund the core functions of government, set aside money in the state savings account and includes no new or increased taxes.
“This budget is focused on taxpayers and enabling them to keep the money they earn,” Masser said. “By holding down state government costs, we can enable Pennsylvanians to keep more of their hard-earned money in their wallets.”
The $34 billion state spending plan would provide a more than $400 million increase in funding for schools across the Commonwealth.
Through a combination of state and federal revenue, funding for child care services and child care assistance both would increase under the plan adopted today by the House.
“We would use state and federal dollars to ensure parents have access to the childcare programs and services that have been there for their children in the past. Child care programs and services are an important priority in this budget, as is shown by our investment in the Childcare Works subsidized child care program,” Culver said. “This budget allocates resources to take 970 children off the waiting list, and provides a 28% increase in tier reimbursement rates for families who use two through four star-rated providers.”
The budget also would build on recent career and technical education initiatives that were approved by the House. The spending plan would increase career and technical education funding by $7 million.
“We want Pennsylvanians to be able to learn the skills necessary to earn a family-sustaining salary at a good-paying job,” Masser said. “We’re working to help employees acquire the skills they need to get the jobs they want.”
“We’re making record-setting investments in the education of our children and the skills training of our workers,” Culver said. “Further investment in our children’s education can be seen in the $5 million increase in Public Library subsidies, which I am very excited to see included.”
Funding for the Department of Agriculture would increase by nearly $20 million in the budget approved by the House.
“Agriculture is our Commonwealth’s No. 1 industry and this budget would make strategic investments in this important sector of our economy,” Masser said. “Farmers are the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy and this budget would support their important work.”
The state budget also would set aside more than $250 million into the state’s version of a savings account, or Rainy Day Fund. The state sets money aside in this fund during good years to avoid tax increases in future, leaner years. The fund was drained during the recent economic downturn, and Maser, Culver and their colleagues in the Legislature have been committed to replenishing this account to protect taxpayers in the future.
“We’re taking steps today to protect taxpayers against a tax hike in the future,” Masser said. “Instead of spending every penny the state has, we are setting money aside for the future, just like families set money aside for emergencies.”
“This is a balanced, responsible budget that takes into consideration the present and future needs of taxpayers,” Culver said.
The budget legislation – House Bill 790
– now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
Representative Kurt A. Masser
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing