State Senator Carolyn Comitta today issued the following statement regarding her vote in opposition to the 2021-22 Pennsylvania budget:
“Across Pennsylvania and the nation, life is appearing to return to normal. Seventy-five percent of adult Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Next week, the last of our COVID-19 restrictions – the mask mandate – will be lifted. By all accounts, we are succeeding in beating back this pandemic and recovering from the worst public health crisis in memory.
The economic crisis, however, will take longer.
I voted against this budget because it represents too many missed opportunities.
While I support the funding increases in community services, antiviolence initiatives, public education (including our most struggling schools) infrastructure, and more, the modest investments made in this budget pale in comparison to the resources on hand.
We’re sitting on an estimated $7 billion dollars on the heels of 18-months of suffering. We’re coming up short for Pennsylvania schools, students, families, workers, and communities at the very moment when we should be lifting them up and setting them up for success in the post-pandemic world.
And the most frustrating and disappointing part is, we don’t have to.
I understand the need to put aside some savings for the future. I appreciate the very limited funding increases this budget does make in important programs and services.
But I cannot vote for a budget that doesn’t reflect our responsibility to do the very best we can do for our constituents. This isn’t it. Investing a fraction – a sliver – of what we have is not a compromise, it’s a letdown. We can do better, and we must do better for our Commonwealth, for our constituents, and for our children.
I will work hard to build on some of the initial commitments made in this budget, including further implementing the Fair Funding Formula, supporting programs to reduce community violence and aid crime victims, and investing in vital public health and human services.
And I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues in the future to strategically invest the remaining American Rescue Plan funds to help ensure a safe, prosperous, and equitable future for all Pennsylvanians.”