Harrisburg, Pa. – February 8, 2022 – Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks, Democratic Caucus Secretary) attended Governor Tom Wolf’s budget address today. The Governor’s 2022-2023 budget proposal focuses on the Commonwealth’s ongoing pandemic recovery, utilizing federal funds and a historic surplus to invest in our families, schools, and workforce.
Senator Collett would like to share her reactions:
“I’m pleased with the direction of the Governor’s proposed budget for 2022-2023, particularly with its emphasis on practical kitchen table issues like improving educational opportunities, rebuilding and growing our economy and keeping Pennsylvanians safe and healthy. We’re in a strong financial position to implement the Governor’s vision and I am ready to get to work. I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are too.”
“I am proud that the Governor’s budget makes crucial investments without raising any taxes. In fact – it provides a tax cut to the business community, cutting the corporate tax rate in half over the next several years. Though I’d prefer this tax cut to be funded by closing the Delaware loophole or requiring combined reporting, the Governor has offered a compromise that will help local and small businesses.”
Education & Child Care
“During the pandemic, we saw just how big a crisis families face when it comes to finding and paying for quality child care. We also saw how underfunded and under-supported Pennsylvania’s child care providers are. And how the effects have rippled across Pennsylvania’s economy as women with no good child care choices have been forced to leave their jobs. The Governor’s proposed budget would invest tens of millions into early childhood education so we can begin to tackle this important and complex problem.”
“The Governor’s proposed budget would increase the state’s contribution to all school districts in 12th District. While not the only factor, this should ease local school boards’ reliance on local property taxes. His budget would also invest additional funds in grant programs for students attending state schools and community colleges and increase higher education tuition supports through PHEAA by nearly $50 million.”
Supporting Vulnerable Populations & Health Care Infrastructure
“The past two years have been especially hard on Pennsylvania’s aging and disabled populations and those care for them. While Governor Wolf has always supported initiatives to help these folks, I’m relieved to see him put his money where his mouth is. His budget would invest more in direct care supports and other home- and community-based care programs. It would also improve oversight by directing a portion of lottery revenues to Older Adult Protective Services.”
“As a former long term care nurse, I’ve long been an advocate for safe staffing which is critical to keeping our loved ones safe and their caregivers in the field. In the fall, DOH proposed regulations to increase the required number of direct care hours per patient at skilled nursing facilities from 2.7 to 4.1, something I strongly support and believe are way overdue. The Governor’s budget would allocate $190 million to help facilities staff up and implement this critical change.”
“The pandemic has underscored our need to provide better mental health services in every community across the Commonwealth. After devastating cuts under the previous administration that have yet to be restored, this budget would finally deliver more than $37 million in much needed funding to counties for mental health supports. While there is still more to be done in addressing community mental health and addiction treatment, and in the closely entwined areas of policing and corrections, this is a great first step.”
“Governor Wolf’s proposal provides $18.8 million to serve an additional 832 individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism currently waiting for services. This is a good step forward, but for the more than 5,000 individuals currently needing emergency services, we have a long way to go – and there’s no time to lose. I will continue to join parents and advocates of the ID/A community to press for additional funds through the budget process. Especially when we are projecting such a significant surplus, it’s unconscionable to leave these folks behind.”
Environmental Protection & Clean Water
“Pennsylvania’s DEP has been plagued by many years of underfunding and budget cuts, to the point it hasn’t had enough staff to conduct routine quality testing and safety inspections. In my district, where water contamination remains a huge concern, local ratepayers have in large part been footing the bill for these shortcomings. That’s why I am proud that the Governor is making a $5 million investment in the DEP to fund new positions supporting clean water. He’s also earmarked funding for other programs of great concern to my constituents, including $10 million to fund recycling programs and $12.3 million for river and stream clean-up.”
Senator Collett is available for interview to further discuss the Governor’s proposed budget and its implications for the 12th District.