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Pickett Reports No-Tax-Increase State Budget
6/20/2018
HARRISBURG – Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said today that the new 2018-19 state budget approved by the House on Wednesday invests nearly $14 billion in education while setting aside important funding to fight the opioid epidemic, enhance career and technical education, and help struggling emergency medical services.

The $32.7 billion spending plan does not include any new or increased taxes or fees.

“This budget is the result of a years-long fight to put our state on a better financial foundation,” said Pickett. “Over the past few years, difficult decisions had to be made in order to prevent our taxpayers from being burdened with higher taxes. Those policies, along with sound financial management and a recovering economy, are allowing us to put forth a budget that really helps our residents and respects our taxpayers.”

The state budget is a 1.7 percent increase over the current fiscal year budget, which is below the rate of inflation. For the first time in a decade, the budget sets aside $20 million for the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Pickett said it is important that local priorities, such as education, are seeing additional increases. That portion of the budget invests $100 million more for basic education, $25 million more for early childhood education and an additional $15 million for special education. This equates to a record $12.3 billion for prekindergarten through 12th-grade education. Additionally, the budget includes a 3 percent increase for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities and community colleges, a 3.3 percent boost for the State System of Higher Education and $30 million more for career and technical education. It is our position that universities and colleges follow through with no tuition increases for the next academic year.

New this year, the budget creates a block grant program, totaling $60 million, to allow schools to fund safety and security initiatives. The block grant allows school districts to make purchases based on their regional choices.

To view Rep. Pickett’s video comments, click here.

Pickett also said the budget earned her approval by also setting aside supplemental dollars for community protection efforts. That includes money for state trooper classes, services for those with intellectual disabilities and support for emergency medical services, including air ambulance services. The budget also sets aside money for home visiting services to qualifying families affected by the opioid epidemic.

“Sadly, the Medicaid reimbursement rates for emergency medical services haven’t been increased in 14 years, and that is crippling our local EMS and ambulance companies, many of which rely on volunteers,” Pickett added. “By raising reimbursement rates for Medicaid – which have been exceedingly low for some time -- and taking advantage of corresponding federal funds, we are hopefully giving these dedicated first response agencies a better ability to continue serving our communities.”

Now that the budget has passed the House, it heads to the Senate for approval.

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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