PLBC agenda, governor’s budget priorities are aligned

HARRISBURG, March 7 – Prior to his budget address today, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Josh Shapiro outlining their budget priorities. Following is their statement on his budget proposal:

“The governor has heard our priorities and heeded our requests, as was evident in his budget address to the General Assembly today when he specifically named the PLBC in his remarks. It was a historic moment for this body and it underscores the importance of our partnership and involvement in the budget process. We are energized by his vision and know our collective voice is heard by the Shapiro-Davis administration. We are confident we will be able to continue and, where needed, expand upon the great work that was started under the Wolf administration. Education, environmental justice, maternal mortality and discrimination are just a few of the issues that we continue to bring to the forefront and we are encouraged by the governor’s including them in today’s proposal.

“With a commitment to fairly funding our schools, regardless of location in the commonwealth, we are hopeful that we can fulfill our constitutional commitment to an equitable education for all children. We need to invest in our schools, thereby investing in our children. In addition, we are encouraged by a commitment to higher education, and we want to be sure that our two HBCUs – Cheyney University and Lincoln University - receive the same attention and commitment.

“Fully funding departments within government that serve BIPOC communities like DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice and the Health Department’s Women, Infant and Children Bureau will help close the disparities in the environmental health of all communities and address things like rising Black maternal and infant mortality rates.

“We need to ensure a level playing field in burgeoning industries like cannabis and renewable energies so that Black business owners and potential owners have the same opportunity to pursue and succeed in those industries.

“Finally, committing to policies that create a discrimination-free environment across Pennsylvania where every resident feels safe, accepted, heard and included will remain on the PLBC agenda.

“We look forward to working with this administration on all of these issues and bringing commonsense solutions to problems that both the governor and the PLBC are committed to solving.”