HARRISBURG – The $39.8 billion budget passed by the House of Representatives on Friday supports education, public safety, infrastructure and vulnerable populations through historic investments, which include $2.5 billion deposited in the Rainy Day Fund, according to Rep. Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin).
The budget sent to the governor’s desk featured no new taxes and more than $1 billion in allocations from federal relief funds.
“While I am supportive of the overall budget, I’m frustrated there are continued allocations to the University of Pittsburgh, which uses fetal tissue remains in research, and the University of Pennsylvania, where an affiliated hospital is requiring staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine that remains classified only under emergency use authorization. Both of these schools are overstepping and yet requesting taxpayer dollars every year,” Lewis said.
Investments in the Rainy Day Fund can be used for future emergencies and spending, while also helping to prevent future tax increases.
The budget addresses education at all levels, whether students attend public schools, public charter schools or private/parochial schools through a record high $13.6 billion for PreK-12 education. It also supports children who have suffered educational losses throughout the pandemic and supports the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education system redesign.
“Fair and quality education is one of my main priorities in my role,” Lewis said. “It is important to see our schools receive these funds to help them recover from a hard year.”
Infrastructure and jobs are supported in the budget with $279 million allocated for transportation projects and $44 million allocated for career and technical schools.
The budget will protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens by allocating $282 million to help nursing homes, assisted living and personal care homes as they still have hefty costs related to COVID-19. It will also protect communities with funding for an additional 180 state troopers as well as violence intervention and prevention training.
“This budget promotes responsible spending now while saving for our future,” Lewis said. “While the budget process has been tedious, I am confident that we have one that will help all constituents in the Commonwealth as we continue to recover from the pandemic and rebuild our economy.”
Representative Andrew Lewis
105th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives