Madden applauds historic increase in education funding in 2023-24 budget

HARRISBURG, July 6 – After the 2023-24 fiscal budget passed the General Assembly this week, state Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, issued the following statement:

“It wasn’t perfect – it never is – but the state budget we voted on late Wednesday evening and passed in bipartisan fashion moves our Commonwealth forward.

“While I fought for and will continue to advocate for some key issues not addressed in this budget, when it came time to cast my vote, it was an easy decision. And here is why:

“East Stroudsburg School District receives an 11.9% increase in funding ($30.2 million). Stroudsburg School District receives a 10.8% increase in funding ($24.5 million). Pocono Mountain School District receives a 9.9% increase in funding ($42.9 million).

“Here in our part of Monroe County, our public schools will get a deserved bump via this statewide historic investment in K-12 education. It’s part of a $717 million increase in education funding that will provide relief to districts that are struggling financially.

“As I noted in my comments in the House chamber during debate over the state budget bill, I heard from several education advocates who, while acknowledging that the budget bill our Democratic Caucus passed in early June was a better bill, were still agreeable to this version sent to us by the state Senate.

“Does it have everything we want? No. No budget will ever please everybody. But it’s undeniable that this budget takes a giant step toward achieving long-overdue equity in our education funding, equity that has recently been ordered by a court after years of inequitable funding.

“Additionally, while there is a lot in this state budget that helps countless Pennsylvanians and gives us reasons to celebrate, I must suggest that we now turn our attention on having the Senate pass clean legislation on statute of limitations reform so that victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse can finally achieve the justice they deserve.”

Madden also noted that the House and Senate have both passed a bill to expand Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Rep. Steve Samuelson’s H.B. 1100, for which Madden was primary co-sponsor, is expected to head to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk soon for his signature. The legislation would increase the maximum rebate from $650 to $1,000 and raise the income cap to $45,000, making approximately 150,000 additional Pennsylvanians eligible for the program.