Kinkead: Governor’s proposed budget provides strong plan to move PA forward

HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – State Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2021-22 budget:

“The governor’s budget address laid out a clear path that moves our state forward in the right direction. I was pleased to hear him outline his plans on infrastructure investment, which includes long-overdue expansion of broadband access across Pennsylvania, notably in our unserved and underserved communities, safer roads and bridges, and investments to removing lead and asbestos from many of our aging schools.

“Our schools have also suffered for many years due to not being fully funded and the governor’s plan will provide our public schools with the resources they need and deserve. For far too long, homeowners in many school districts have had to bear the brunt of skyrocketing property taxes. Governor Wolf’s plan would ensure our districts receive this vital support and that includes raising the salary for teachers to a $45,000 minimum annual salary. No doubt about it -- our teachers have gone above and beyond, even before the pandemic, and they should be fairly compensated for all they do in providing education and support to our children.

“Governor Wolf’s support of the Clean Slate Law was just the beginning as it relates to criminal justice reform in our great commonwealth. I was pleased to hear his plans to reform the bail and probation systems in our state, along with the support for legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis. Such an effort would not only provide substantial, much-needed revenue, but it would also support job creation and several social programs and initiatives to strengthen our communities that have been devastated by the years’ long War on Drugs, including after-school programs, support for minority and women-owned businesses, and a student loan reimbursement program.

“This is a strong, realistic budget proposal. Now it is incumbent upon us in the legislature to have intellectually honest debate to move this budget forward for a stronger, better Pennsylvania.”