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Pickett Supports Budget that Meets Taxpayer Expectations
HARRISBURG -- Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) today voted in favor of the Commonwealth’s new 2012-13 state budget because it supports education, agriculture and job creation efforts. The House passed the budget bill on Thursday, and it now goes to the state Senate for its concurrence before heading to the governor to be signed.

The $27.656 billion budget does not contain any new or increased taxes and is done before the June 30 mandated deadline.

“This budget focuses on the priorities of our Commonwealth and our residents, and meets taxpayers’ expectations by focusing on the items they deal with everyday,” Pickett said. “This budget supports quality education at the K-12 level and through our state-owned and state-related institutions of higher learning by setting aside the same amount as last year and staving off dramatic funding reductions that had been proposed earlier this year.”

In fact, while the state’s 500 public school districts will each receive the same amount as they did last year, some will see increases through the state’s Accountability Block Grant program, which offers flexible funding to schools for programs such as full-day kindergarten.

Also funded at the same level as last year will be critical care hospitals, burn units and trauma centers, and obstetric-neonatal hospitals. Pickett said this is especially important in rural areas.

Pickett also noted continued financial support for Pennsylvania’s No. 1 industry in the new budget – agriculture – with level funding for agricultural research, promotion, education and exports, along with the food purchase program.

The spending plan also calls for continued efforts to improve Pennsylvania’s economic climate through job training.

“During the early part of this budget process, I served on the House Appropriations Committee and sat through hearings that examined every dollar of proposed state spending,” she said. “At that time, the budget picture looked very bleak, and while we haven’t been able to give funding increases to many worthy programs, the fact that we were able to see improved revenue numbers and restore many of the proposed cuts makes this a budget which has earned my support.”

Much of the budget negotiations focused on county-based human services funding. The governor had proposed a 20 percent cut earlier this year, and the General Assembly was able to restore that proposed cut to a 10 percent reduction. To further help, this new budget will direct $17.8 million to reduce the waiting list for those with intellectual disabilities.

The new budget takes effect July 1.

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
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