Schlossberg supports state budget, wants better mental health funding

HARRISBURG, July 5 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg offered the following statement about the House of Representatives giving final passage to the 2023-24 state budget and sending it to the desk of Gov. Josh Shapiro:

“This was not my preferred budget. But a yes vote was the correct one. With divided government, we need to govern. Governor Shapiro is correct: we need to send him a proposal which reflects our agreements and not let our disagreements hold up our obligation to govern responsibly. He also said very clearly that he will use his line-item veto power to veto the Senate’s voucher-scheme. I appreciate and trust Governor Shapiro’s leadership and voted to concur on the proposal knowing the voucher-scheme is going to be vetoed. Additionally, Parkland and Allentown students, families, and taxpayers will benefit as Pennsylvania’s commitment to those districts increases substantially,” said Schlossberg, the House Majority Caucus Chair.

“Under the budget, the Parkland School District will see a $2.1 million increase in support from the commonwealth, which is a 13% increase over last year’s budget. Since I took office as state representative in 2013, Parkland has seen an 88% increase in support from Pennsylvania. The Allentown School District, thanks in part to the success of my Level Up initiative, will see an increase of $21.7 million, an increase of 11.7% over last year’s budget. Since I took office, we have increased Pennsylvania’s support for the Allentown School District by 118%. We should be very proud of these accomplishments, recognizing that we still have a way to go in meeting our obligations to the students in these two districts.

“I am very disappointed the bipartisan proposal to distribute the $100 million for mental health programs that we agreed to last session was not included in this year’s budget. Experts and lawmakers worked on this issue for more than a year and we had an agreement. The budget includes a nominal amount to help support county mental health activities, but we are a long way from meeting the downpayment needed to fix Pennsylvania’s broken mental health care system. Instead of being used to bolster mental health care worker wages, make improvements on criminal justice matters and increase access for all of Pennsylvania, the $100 million will be used for school-based mental health care. That is important; however, until we come to understand that meeting Pennsylvania’s mental health care needs will require many more resources, the cries to ‘do more’ ring hollow. I will not stop fighting for more resources, and I do believe opportunities will still be available to fight for the $100 million for adult mental health. Until we deliver, Pennsylvania’s mental health care system will remain broken,” he said.