Longietti lauds final passage of budget bill, citing ‘strategic investments’

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, lauded today’s final passage of the state’s $34 billion spending plan, saying he believed that, although not perfect, H.B. 790 makes sensible investments in the commonwealth’s future.

“I’m encouraged that this year’s budget is responsible, that it holds the line on taxes, and that it puts about $300 million into the state’s Rainy Day Fund,” Longietti said. “Most importantly, I voted for this budget because it makes strategic investments that are important to the people of Mercer County and across the commonwealth.

“I’m especially pleased that the new budget adds $160 million for basic education funding, which will help our local school districts; a $50 million increase in special education funding; and a $25 million increase for early childhood education. Early education programs like Pre-K Counts are critically important because they provide kids with the fundamentals they need for the best possible start in life, which is key to success later on. 

“I’m also encouraged by a 2% increase for higher education and a $10 million increased commitment for career and technical education programs, which provide an important pipeline for young job seekers entering the workforce.

“Another important aspect of the budget is that it funds programs to support our seniors, those with intellectual disabilities and the most vulnerable among us to ensure that these members of our community are not left behind.

“Finally, the budget will help support one of our most important industries by providing resources to assist farmers with business development, disaster response and best management practices.

“Of course, the plan isn’t perfect and there are things I would change. But any budget is a compromise, and on balance, I believe this one spends our resources responsibly and accomplishes a lot of good on behalf of the commonwealth’s citizens.”

The bill is now on the governor’s desk awaiting signature as the House and Senate work through the rest of the bills related to the 2019-20 state spending plan.