Longietti encouraged by lean proposal that makes strategic investments

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, said he is encouraged by Gov. Tom Wolf’s lean budget proposal that makes strategic investments in education, college and career readiness for students and job training for workers.

“I have been a strong proponent of investing in our children, and I am particularly pleased by the governor’s proposal to increase, by 50 percent, the number of 3- and 4-year-olds who can access pre-K,” Longietti said. “A strong foundation starts with high-quality pre-K, and it gives students a great leg up for the rest of their lives. After all, today’s children are our future business owners, workers and community leaders.”

Longietti noted that the governor is seeking $120 million for K-12 public education and special education, in addition to a $40 million increase in pre-K funding.

 “The additional funding for schools will not only help our children succeed in college and careers, but will also help control local property taxes for our citizens,” he said.

Longietti also lauded the governor’s focus on career and technical education and job training. The proposed budget would provide a $10 million increase in career and technical education funding and $50 million to launch PAsmart, an effort to promote 21st century job skills. PAsmart would invest $40 million in science, technology, engineering and math -- known as STEM -- and computer science-related education and $10 million to expand apprenticeships and industry partnerships.  

“In Mercer County, our manufacturing businesses and trade organizations are in need of skilled workers for good-paying jobs,” Longietti said. “It is imperative that we provide quality career and technical education for students who can fill those jobs in the near future. Additionally, we must partner with local businesses to train workers using 21st century technology in order to move our economy forward.”

Longietti said he is looking forward to the work ahead.

“In the coming weeks, I will be working hard to ensure that we enact a final budget that makes critical investments in our children and in our economic growth, while being mindful of the needs of taxpayers. The governor’s proposal to make these investments within a relatively lean overall budget provides a good starting point,” he said.