HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) joined a majority in the state House Friday in adopting a $39.78 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
“This budget protects our taxpayers and plans for the Commonwealth’s future,” Owlett said. “Thanks to one-time stimulus funding, we are seeing a healthy surplus in sales tax revenue but we know it’s not going to last because our Personal Income Tax collections are flat. People are spending their stimulus money but they are not earning, and we are facing a serious financial cliff as a result of that. We are doing the right thing by saving for the days when the stimulus and its effects come to an end.”
Senate Bill 255
deposits $2.52 billion into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, growing the fund’s balance to a historic $2.76 billion. The plan also sets aside a portion of the federal COVID-19 relief funds to deal with the long-term impacts of the pandemic.
“We didn’t approach this budget by saying we have a certain amount of money and we have to spend it all,” Owlett said. “We looked at the true needs, funded those and saved the rest to protect against future tax hikes or service cuts.”
Building on our ongoing efforts since the start of the pandemic to support our schools, hospitals, service providers, small businesses and more, this budget increases funding for public education to a record high $13.55 billion, including increases for basic and special education, career and technical education, and early childhood education. It directs $282 million in federal funds to support nursing, assisted living and personal care homes in their continuing efforts to combat the pandemic. An additional $279 million of federal funds goes to much-needed road and bridge projects. Funding is also provided for two new state police cadet classes, adding 180 troopers to our communities.
The budget also includes funding to create a Bureau of Election Audits within the Office of the Auditor General to help restore public trust in our elections.
“Just as important as what the budget DOES include is what it DOESN’T,” Owlett said. “The huge income tax increases, energy taxes and higher overall spending the governor sought back in February were soundly rejected by the House, as were his plans to charge communities for using the state police and increasing the minimum wage. This is all good news for our taxpayers of today and the future.”
While he was pleased to support the budget, Owlett noted there is still work to be done.
“In these types of negotiations, everyone does not get everything they want,” Owlett said. “While I was happy to see the cuts the governor made to our agriculture budget restored, I am committed to working to further support our state’s top industry and the hard-working men and women who help keep food on our tables.”
For more information about the state budget, visit www.pahousegop.com/2122PAbudget.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler