Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, voted in support of a state budget that prioritizes agriculture, education and putting money aside in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The budget will spend a total of $33.9 billion dollars, a 1.8% increase over the current fiscal year, and does not contain any new or increased taxes.
Owlett issued the following statement after the budget vote was taken:
“As someone who represents a rural area and understands the impact of the agriculture industry on the state’s financial well-being, I was happy to see the largest investment in agriculture in decades. Not only were we successful in getting all of the governor’s proposed cuts to agriculture restored, but we managed to provide a $19.5 million increase for the state’s agriculture sector. That’s substantial!
“This funding is in addition to several legislative measures recently passed in the House that aim to support the dairy industry and help our agriculture industry as a whole continue to thrive.
“Education was also a big winner in the state budget, with a total of $432 million added to an already healthy education investment. More money will be dedicated to basic and special education, PreK Counts, school choice scholarships, higher education, and public libraries. We also dedicated another $60 million for school safety efforts and are targeting $10 million for career and technical education.
“Making sure our students receive a quality education in a safe setting is a priority, so I was pleased we were able make these allocations.
“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, we made it clear early on in the budget process that we also wanted to strengthen the state’s savings account to protect against tax increases if the economy should face another downturn. With that goal in mind, and requiring the governor to pay for part of the supplemental over-spends from his reserves, we were able to set aside more than $250 million for the state’s Rainy Day Fund. This is a small but important step for the state moving forward. We must keep our eye on spending this year and make sure our financial house is in order.
“Overall, I am pleased with the 2019-20 budget, which has garnered bipartisan support and keeps Pennsylvania on stable economic footing for the future.”
The budget bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. For more information, go to www.PAHouseGOP.com.