Davis: Failure to raise minimum wage, elimination of General Assistance prompted my 'no' vote on state budget

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, released the following statement on why he voted in opposition of H.B. 790, the General Appropriations bill, which passed the House Tuesday:

“The General Appropriations bill that passed the House today has some positives but still lacks the important ingredients needed to ensure a balanced budget for all Pennsylvanians. In short, I’m happy to see that the budget includes an increase in education spending; a continued investment in Pre-K programs; and an investment in our libraries.

“However, the failure to raise the minimum wage coupled with the elimination of the General Assistance program prompted my opposition to this bill. Raising the minimum wage is critical to lift working-class families out of poverty. Unfortunately, House Bill 790 does not make critical investments in working-class families.

“Every state around Pennsylvania has raised its minimum wage at least twice since the last time the commonwealth did so – it’s been 10 years. The economical and consumer landscape in this state is changing and residents who rely on minimum wage salaries are unable to stay afloat, despite working 40 hours or more a week. I can’t support that.

“In addition, the elimination of the General Assistance program further solidified my opposition to the General Appropriations bill because it’s a clear indication that the state is unwilling to make a small investment to help our residents maintain until they can support themselves. We’re sent to the state Capitol to best represent commonwealth residents. Eliminating this program is the opposite of what we were sent here to do. With that, I’m comfortable with my opposition to House Bill 790. I don’t see it as a legislative measure that best serves all Pennsylvanians,” Davis said.