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Pickett Offers Thoughts on New Budget Proposal
2/4/2014
HARRISBURG – Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said today she is encouraged by the priorities set forth in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal, which was unveiled Tuesday during a joint session of the General Assembly, but added that there is still a lot of work to do before a final plan is adopted later this year.

“A vital aspect of our state budget must be the effective spending of our taxpayers’ dollars and continuing to create savings in government spending by ingenuity, innovation and reforms,” Pickett said. “This budget sets a good tone for the upcoming budget discussion, but also focuses on a number of core functions of government – education, public safety, human services and job creation.

“Jobs – especially good ones – are essential to families, both here in the 110th District and across the state. The Northern Tier continues to play a vital role in shaping our state’s economy, by helping us to become an energy leader in terms of growth and investment in our Commonwealth and reducing the cost of energy for our homes and businesses,” Pickett said. “This budget not only recognizes that, but seeks to build on those successes to make our state even stronger.”

Specifically, the $29.4 billion plan seeks to dedicate more money toward basic, special and higher education through both additional spending and new grant programs.

“This budget recognizes the importance of good education for children of all ages and in all parts of Pennsylvania,” Pickett said, pointing to 40 percent of available dollars to be spent in education, including $10 million additional dollars for pre-kindergarten programs and another $241 million for the Accountability Block Grant Fund for all schools to use grants for their particular needs.

She also highlighted hybrid learning grants, to total $10 million, that would allow schools to make continued upgrades in teaching with technology. Special education, much in need of greater funding, is included for an additional $20 million. Additional attention is being given students from middle-income families who are facing some of the highest obstacles to advanced degrees. The governor is proposing a grant program of $25 million to help offset student loan debt for those seeking two-year and four-year degrees.

As part of his plan to address human services programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is looking to serve another 10,000 children, and offering additional home- and community-based services for individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities. To help ensure a high quality of life for senior citizens and respond to the ever-growing number of seniors, this budget seeks to invest another $23.5 million to protect and expand senior services.

The spending plan does not rely on any new or additional tax increases.

“The proposal presented to us today is just that – a proposal,” she said. “In the coming weeks, our Appropriations Committees will examine every line and detail to ensure that this is the right path for Pennsylvania. I look forward to a number of in-depth discussions on these priorities to ensure that our taxpayers are getting the biggest return on their investment.”

More information on the budget, including detailed spreadsheets, can be found online at www.PABudget.com.

Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
(717) 705-2094
jkeaton@pahousegop.com  
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett

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