Harrisburg, Pa (March 8, 2023) — State Senator Carolyn Comitta issued the following statement in response to Governor Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget proposal:
“Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal shows a willingness and desire to work across party lines in a bipartisan and collaborative manner.
Education: A total $1 billion increase in public education to prepare students and young people for the future in safe, healthy, and effective schools and learning programs.
- A nearly 8 percent increase in funding for basic education and special education.
- Investments in childcare and early childhood education
- $10.4 million for Early Intervention services for children ages 3 to 5.
- An additional $2.7 million to Head Start programs for workforce investments.
- $30 million in Pre-K Counts funding to raise the per-child rate.
- $38.5 million for universal free breakfast for 1.7 million students in public schools.
- A $60 million increase for funding higher ed institutions, including:
- $5.1 million for community colleges
- $11 million for PASSHE
- Funding increases for state-related universities.
- $1 million in funding for the Hunger Free Campus Initiative.
- A tax credit program to attract professionals to careers in teaching, nursing and policing.
Public Health and Safety: Investing in public health, behavioral, health, and public safety and emergency response services.
- $20 million to begin to restore Mental Health funding with a pathway to $60 million in 2027-28.
- $17.5 million for an additional 850 individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism or developmental disabilities in the ID Community Living and Consolidated Waiver programs.
- $2.3 million in new funding to implement strategies to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
- $54 million in additional funding for emergency services.
- An additional $36 million for local fire fighters and EMS providers.
- $54 million in additional funds and a sustainable source of funding for the 9-1-1 system.
- $16.4 million for four new state trooper classes, equating to 384 new troopers.
- $20 million for equipment replacement and upgrades.
- A sustainable and dedicated source of funding for the Pa State Police that reduces our reliance on the gas tax.
- Significant investments in crime prevention and victims’ services programs.
Economic Prosperity: Reducing taxes and expanding opportunity for all Pennsylvanians.
- Eliminating the cell phone tax.
- Accelerating the reduction of the Corporate Net Income tax.
- Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 effective January 1, 2024.
- A $23.8 million investment in Career and Technical Education programs, including:
- $3.3 million in new funding for technology and equipment upgrades.
- An additional $4 million to hire teachers and expand programs.
- A 43% increase in funding for Apprenticeship Training programs.
- A 60% increase in the Manufacturing Innovation Program, a collaboration between colleges and universities, industrial resource centers and DCED.
The Environment: Supporting and investing in the Constitutional Right of every Pennsylvanian to clean air and pure water.
- $2.8 million in new funding to support sustainable outdoor management, infrastructure updates, and safety, and a new Office of Outdoor Recreation in DCNR.
- Doubling the funding (from $56 to $112 million) to maintain and improve state park and forest infrastructure.
- $4 million for the Clean Water Fund to increase support for safeguarding water resources (instead of relying on increased fee revenue).
- $5.75 million in new funding to improve permitting, inspections, and air quality monitoring as well as for the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
- A total of $663.343 million in RGGI proceeds is slated for the Clean Air Fund in 2023-24. However, Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI is still pending in the courts.