Harrisburg – June 22, 2018 – State Sen. Christine Tartaglione applauded today’s early passage of a Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget that includes new investments in workforce development, education, health care and social justice. The Senate voted, 47-2, in support of the budget (HB 2121) previously passed by the Pennsylvania House. The budget now awaits Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature.

“This budget is an example of the great things we can accomplish when we work together in a bi-partisan way to create programs that benefit all Pennsylvanians,” Tartaglione said. “As minority chairman of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, I am especially proud of the workforce development initiatives, such as expanded apprenticeships and partnerships that involve labor organizations, vocational training facilities and the business community. These measures will help more young people find good careers that pay family-sustaining wages and benefits and will help the Commonwealth identify and satisfy its changing workforce needs.”

The approved budget includes a $30 million increase in the allocation for career and technical education through the PA SMART initiative. It also includes a new $7 million apprenticeship training program and a $3 million increase to industry partnerships, both through PA SMART, as well as a $3 million increase for combatting the Spotted Lanternfly infestation that threatens our agriculture industry.

Also today, the Senate unanimously approved the creation of the Keystone Scholars Grant Program through the passage of the omnibus Fiscal Code bill (HB 1929). The Keystone Scholars Grant Program will apply to every child born in Pennsylvania on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Upon receiving notice of a child’s birth, the Treasury Department will set aside $100 in a separate account that will be available to the child once they reach age 18 and enroll in a qualifying institution of higher education or a vocational or technical school. The student would be able to collect the $100, as well as investment earnings attributed to the account.

“This Keystone Scholars Grant Program makes an important statement about our commitment to improving education opportunities for future generations of Pennsylvanians,” Tartaglione said. “As each child grows, this funding will grow and will provide them with another incentive to pursue post-secondary education or job training.”

During a busy day at the Capitol, Senator Tartaglione also joined members of the Philadelphia delegations in both the Senate and House, as well as other leaders in the General Assembly, to announce the House’s passage of a $60 million school and community anti-violence package. The legislation originated in the Senate as SB 1142 and sets aside $7.5 million for community anti-violence programs. In addition, municipalities, institutions of higher education, community-based organizations and other entities will be able to apply for funds to support anti-violence initiatives.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will administer the grants through a School Safety and Security Committee. The objective is to reduce violence in schools by addressing it at the community level.

“This level of funding is unprecedented,” Tartaglione said. “Hopefully, this will become a watershed moment in our Commonwealth’s fight against violence in our schools and communities, particularly gun violence. I hope what we’ve accomplished today will usher in a new era of cooperation in the General Assembly on this critical issue.”

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