Warner and Stefano back budget plan

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Warner

State Representative Ryan Warner (R-52) and State Senator Pat Stefano (R-32) applauded the passage of the 2022-23 budget by the House and Senate.

The Senate on Friday approved a $45.2 billion General Fund budget that meets the needs of Pennsylvanians today without creating multibillion-dollar budget deficits in the future, according to Stefano, who voted for the measure. .

The $45.2 billion budget, which also includes federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, represents a 2.9% increase over the previous year’s spending — and $500 million less than Governor Tom Wolf’s initial budget request.

The budget deal does not include any large-scale tax increases and is structured to minimize the risk of tax increases in coming years, he said.

Warner said the budget is fiscally responsible and positions the Commonwealth and citizens for success in the future.

“With a likely recession on the horizon, it is more important than ever to budget not just for this year, but also for years to come. Rather than spend every dollar we have, as the Governor sought to do in his initial proposal in February, we are advancing a budget that commits more than $2 billion to the Rainy Day Fund, bringing it to a historic total of $5. billions of dollars. We are also preserving $3.6 billion in the general fund for use in future budgets as our own independent tax office forecasts lower state revenues for fiscal year 2022-23,” Warner said.

Stefano

Stefano

“While not raising taxes on Pennsylvanians who are still struggling financially due to Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 shutdowns and poor federal tax policies is very important, it is not enough. We also need to attract employers to the Commonwealth,” Stefano said. “The budget does both to most effectively improve the state’s economy over the long term.”

The budget cuts the corporate net income tax rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99% by 2031, measures designed to attract employers and residents to Pennsylvania, Stefano said.

“In addition to saving for our future, we are also taking steps to encourage economic growth by lowering the net corporate income tax, currently the second highest in the country, and reforming and simplifying taxes for These changes will help attract much-needed new business investment, create jobs and broaden the tax base to ease the burden on hard-working families,” Warner said.

As significant as the economic boost provided by this plan, which will have a projected ending balance of $3.6 billion, the 2022-23 budget includes a transfer of $2.1 billion to the Rainy Day Fund, bringing the balance total to nearly $5 billion, Stefano said.

These fiscally responsible measures are essential as many economic indicators show a risk of recession on the horizon, Stefano said. More recently, Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office estimated the risk of economic stagnation or “growth recession” at 60%, and the risk of recession at 30%, he said.

The budget includes a $525 million increase for basic education funding, $225 million to provide additional support for the 100 poorest school districts in the state, a $100 million increase for the special education funding, an additional $60 million for pre-K accounts, and an additional $19 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance.

It also includes an additional $125 million in Education Enhancement Tax Credits to ensure that more students can learn in the educational environment that best meets their needs. Higher education is also getting a financial boost, Stefano noted.

Increased funding is also dedicated in this year’s budget to keep schools safe: $100 million for the Ready to Learn block grant program to address school mental health; and $100 million in funding is earmarked for a new General Fund Vote for Safe and Secure Schools to ensure physical safety and security in schools.

Stefano said the budget includes $150 million for nursing home staffing costs, $250 million in ARPA funding for long-term living programs, and $20 million for supplemental payments to nursing homes. personal care homes.

Stefano said inflation is driving up the cost of everything, including housing, whether owned or rented, and this budget allocates $540 million in ARPA funding to help our most vulnerable residents. and low-income by funding affordable housing construction programs, providing additional housing repair assistance. and strengthen the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program.

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