Shapiro budget is what people of PA need

HARRISBURG, March 7 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg offered the following response to today’s 2023-24 state budget proposed by Gov. Josh Shapiro.

“Simply put, this is the budget that the people of Pennsylvania need. It attempts to remedy decades-old mistakes of the past, ensure the needs of the present, and plan for the future.

“From an educational perspective, this budget would invest more than half a billion dollars in basic and special education. This would go a long way to giving kids in Parkland and Allentown the world-class education they deserve. It also comes with a promise: the recent fair funding court decision will be addressed, likely providing the promise of additional funds. The folding in of Level-Up into the Basic Education formula – combined with future guarantees of additional funding – points to a bright future for our kids, teachers and taxpayers. We had always said Level Up was a bridge to a brighter educational future. It is my hope that that day has arrived,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh.

“This budget also would make major investments in mental health. Its increase in county funding, dedicated funding for the 988 hotline and $100 million for school-based mental health shows that the new administration is taking this issue seriously. I look forward to working with the governor on ensuring that this money – along with the $100 million from the Behavioral Health Commission – is spent in the best way possible.

“This budget would expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program to nearly 175,000 additional people. It would increase the minimum wage. It calls for legalizing adult-use cannabis. It would invest in teachers, nurses and police officers. In short, it’s a reflection of reality. Pennsylvanians need and deserve a government to make investments on their behalf.

“Finally, I want to take a note about the tone of the governor in his speech. He fought for his priorities, and I have no doubt that my Republican colleagues will issue statements calling for the same. But the governor’s speech and recent outreach efforts were an attempt to build a bridge. At an event with legislative leaders yesterday, the governor noted that he wanted to ‘turn down the temperature in the building.’ The political reality is this: The governor is a Democrat, the House has a slim Democratic majority, and the Senate has a Republican majority. My constituents are tired of extremism. They want a government that is connected to their needs, they want reasonable negotiations, and they want adults in the room to get good things done on their behalf. This budget – and the governor’s remarks – were a reflection of this reality.

“It is time to get to work for the people, and I look forward to participating in these conversations,” said Schlossberg, who also serves as House majority caucus chairman.