HARRISBURG – Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said today that the new 2017-18 state budget, now on the governor’s desk, funds the state’s core functions while also keeping government spending under control.
The $32 billion budget is lower than the proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf in March and is less than 1 percent higher than the current fiscal year, which ended on Friday. The new budget seeks to continue a historic investment in education, ensures important agriculture and health care programs are funded, and begins to reinvent the way in which state government operates. All of this, Pickett noted, is contained in a budget that is within the cost of inflation.
“This budget represents a new way of thinking in state government,” Pickett said. “We know that duplicative programs, services and processes exist across the bureaucracy, and this budget – along with related legislation – seeks to streamline those redundancies by consolidating several state agencies – Health and Human Services, along with Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole. Not only will that save taxpayers money, but it will also make the state more consumer friendly. Our goal is to get necessary funding into our communities, rather than funding bureaucratic red tape.”
The commitment to education, at the prekindergarten through 12th-grade levels, as well as higher education will receive additional state dollars. In total, more than $11.86 billion is set aside for education, including the restoration of money for student transportation, which was to have been eliminated in the Wolf proposal. The latter was extremely important to schools in rural areas.
“Today’s vote is just one step of many in reaching a complete budget package,” Pickett added. “Over the next few days, negotiations will continue to put the finishing touches on many of the concepts and cost-savings we’re including in our overall budget. We anticipate being able to develop a revenue plan without the need for broad-based taxes. This budget is far from perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Representative Tina Pickett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton