Webster votes ‘no’ on 2019-20 state budget

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Joe Webster released the following statement on his “no” vote on the 2019-20 state budget (H.B. 790), which passed the House Tuesday 140-62 and is expected to be approved in the Senate today.

 

“Pennsylvania is headed for an on-time budget, and that’s good news,” Webster said. “While there are a few bright spots, it’s not a good budget, and not based on good public policy. The overall package misses too many opportunities to truly address Pennsylvania’s needs.

 

“There are a few selective wins here for Pennsylvania. We have begun funding early learning for our pre-K children, which is shown to lower poverty rates and increase school readiness.

 

“And we increased funding for public schools enough to keep pace with inflation, but not enough to budge our ranking for state funding of education as the 47th worst in the nation.

 

“The budget also has some incremental increases for health care workers who provide personal assistance and direct care, another 2% that barely keeps up with inflation. These workers provide support to help keep people in their homes and as independent as possible.

 

“This budget reduces overall transportation infrastructure dollars by $366 million. That means less effort in Harrisburg to fix our roads and bridges, which are in desperate need of attention. It also means less dollars to support the public transportation system that so many of our citizens rely on in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

 

“This budget also raids important environmental funds and eliminates the low-cost general assistance program that offers a lifeline to people who temporarily cannot support themselves, such as disabled veterans, victims of domestic violence or people in opioid addiction treatment programs.

 

“It includes no increase to our minimum wage requirements, even though each of our neighboring states have raised their minimum wage at least twice since the last time Pennsylvania did.

 

“And it will provide a religious exemption that will make it harder for LGBTQ parents to adopt children in need of a loving home. 

 

“For those reasons, I could not support this budget and believed we could do better. I will continue to fight for the interests of all Pennsylvanians.”