Briggs votes to complete the 2016-17 budget

KING OF PRUSSIA, July 15 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, said today that he voted to complete the 2016-17 state budget with revenue to fund important investments made in education and programs to combat the state’s opioid abuse crisis because the plan would help put Pennsylvania on the right path moving forward.

The House and Senate voted to send Gov. Tom Wolf a conference committee report that raises the revenue necessary to pay for the approximate $31.6 billion spending plan passed on June 30. Lawmakers also passed a fiscal code and school code bill, pieces necessary to finalize the 2016-17 budget process. 

"This budget is far from perfect, but it does make critical investments in education and human services that will put our state on the right path moving forward," Briggs said. "This was another difficult year financially for the state and, with it being an example of divided government where we have a Democratic governor and large Republican majorities controlling the House and Senate, to see a budget get completed without a protracted impasse like last year is encouraging."

The spending plan passed on June 30 included an extra $200 million for basic education, $30 million more for pre-K and Head Start and a $20 million increase for special education. It also included a 2.5 percent increase in higher education spending.

"The increase in education funding is a great win for our students and will go a long way in restoring the devastating cuts made by the previous administration," Briggs said. "This is a significant step in our effort to provide all kids in the state access to a quality education and to lower the financial burden on homeowners by reducing the pressure of ever-rising property taxes."

The budget also will dedicate $15 million to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services.

"While not ideal, this is a good budget that does many important things including helping those battling addiction," Briggs said. "These additional funds will help us begin to get a handle on the opioid problem gripping our state and get people the treatment that they need to overcome their addictions."