HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) joined a bipartisan majority in the state House Thursday to support passage of the 2022-23 state budget, highlighting its investments in creeks and streams maintenance, election integrity, agriculture, education options, mental health care, support for seniors and more.
“This budget includes some important initiatives that will really benefit our citizens and communities across the Northern Tier,” Owlett said.
As a solid voice of reason when it comes to being prepared for the future, Owlett said “It is also important to note the budget includes no new or increased taxes and actually sets aside more money for the Rainy Day Fund and carries additional funding into the following fiscal year to help mitigate the impacts of the anticipated economic downturn.”
As Owlett continues efforts to advance his creeks and streams maintenance legislation through the Senate, this budget includes more funding for the state’s conservation districts to improve nutrient management, flood control, permitting and other conservation-related projects.
“This was a big win on the funding; now let’s get the policy wins,” he said, pointing to the eight-bill package that would streamline permitting to allow municipal leaders and landowners to take necessary action to help prevent flooding. Additional funding is also invested in the Small Water and Sewer Program that benefits municipalities across the state.
The plan sets aside $45 million in funding for election integrity initiatives as well as eliminates the use of third-party funding in elections. Owlett has been a leader in this effort since learning of the uneven and clearly partisan distribution of funding provide by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which is funded largely by Mark Zuckerberg.
“While this is a good step for election integrity, we have more work to do to restore confidence in the system,” he said.
The budget includes the largest investment ever in agriculture, directing significant funding to combatting the spread of disease, such as avian flu, and invasive species, such as spotted lanternfly.
“Supporting our agriculture industry and protecting against disease and invasive species is vital to ensuring they can continue putting food on their tables and ours,” Owlett said.
Owlett also applauded the increased investment in education. “Making sure our students are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow is critical,” he said. He was also thrilled to see a historic 45% increase in funding for the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, which helps provide parents and students the opportunity to find the type of education that best works for them.
In addition to added support for academic programming at the state’s schools, the budget also invests heavily in school safety and mental health initiatives.
“In the 68th District, we are blessed with some great schools, teachers and students,” Owlett said. “However, these are challenging times and we need to ensure our families and school officials have the tools they need ensure the health and safety of our kids. I encourage parents to reach out to their local school board members with suggestions on how to implements this historic funding.”
Owlett noted the budget also aims to help employers, working families and low-income senior citizens deal with ongoing COVID-19 impacts and inflation. The plan lowers and simplifies the tax burden for employers to encourage investment and job creation; creates a first-ever PA Child Care Tax Credit to provide additional support to working families; and provides a one-time, 70% boost in rebates through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.
“This budget represents a major step forward in keeping the Commonwealth on the path to economic recovery and growth,” Owlett said. “There is always more work to do, but this budget provides us with many tools to support our taxpayers and prepare for a successful future.”
Senate Bill 1100
is awaiting further action by the Senate.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler