Senator Maria Collett

Harrisburg, Pa.February 4, 2020 – Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) attended Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) budget address today. The Governor’s 2020-2021 budget proposal included key investments in our Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), workforce development, and education.

Senator Collett would like to share her reaction:

“I am glad to see that the Governor’s address prioritizes some of the issues I hear about most from my constituents – including investments in our DEP and environmental cleanup efforts, promoting a fair economy that works for all of us, and desperately needed charter school reforms.”

“I am especially thankful that the Governor’s proposed budget includes increased funding for the DEP, some of which is specifically earmarked for much-needed staffing increases. Our DEP cannot adequately respond to the many environmental issues facing our Commonwealth – including the PFAS contamination crisis in my district – without adequate resources, and I am glad to see that my calls for action have been heard. It also creates a new funding source for the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act. The HSCA funds the monitoring and cleanup of hazardous environmental sites across the Commonwealth. As I continue to work to get PFAS added to the list of hazardous substances that the HSCA covers, it is encouraging to know that it will be better equipped to manage its important work.”

“I remain committed to the Governor’s proposal to immediately increase the minimum wage. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is the lowest among mid-Atlantic states and it is quite simply not a livable wage. More than half of my district’s minimum wage workers are women and more than 90% are over 20. Nearly 50% are over 40. It is unacceptable that so many hardworking Pennsylvanians are forced to take on a second, third, even fourth job to keep themselves and their families afloat.”

“The Governor’s budget also addresses the need to invest in employees and tackle workforce barriers such as lack of transportation, childcare, or stable housing. I am also proud to support the Governor’s proposed investment of $1 million to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus system which will support food banks across the Commonwealth and throughout my district. We have seen a dramatic uptick in income, housing, and food insecurity in my district in recent months, and I’m glad to see that these important issues are not being overlooked.”

“I am glad to see continued attention to early childhood education. This budget’s $30 million investment in quality early childhood education means more parents will be able to afford to work and decrease their reliance on other government programs. Quality early childhood education closes the achievement gap and reduces the need for grade repetition and special and remedial education. It increases graduation and employment rates. It decreases the likelihood for crime and incarceration, and it increases lifetime earnings.” 

“I support the Governor’s commitment to remediating lead and asbestos in our schools. After years of inaction, this budget takes a big step towards making our schools safer and improving the daily lives and long-term health of our students and teachers.”

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collett will participate in a series of hearings regarding these proposals and how they might be implemented in the final 2020-2021 budget in June.