HARRISBURG – Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin/Lebanon) today in Harrisburg voted for Senate Bill 255, the General Appropriations portion of the state budget, which was approved by the House of Representatives. The 2021-22 Pennsylvania budget would spend $39 billion in General Fund dollars, and $1 billion in federal relief funds, to fund the core functions of government services and invest in jobs, infrastructure and education, all while avoiding any new or increased taxes.
The budget would provide an increase of $300 million for basic education, a $30 million increase for early childhood education and a $50 million increase for special education. Additionally, to support children who have suffered educational losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget allocates $350 million in federal relief funds for learning loss, summer enrichment and after-school programs.
“A record $13.5 billion in education spending reaffirms our commitment to our children and their futures. The educational experience was one of the parts of life most impacted by COVID-19 and we need to make sure our students are not left at a disadvantage because of it,” said Helm. “All school districts in the 104th District will receive increased funding for the support and resources our students need.”
The spending plan would allocate $279 million in federal relief funds for transportation infrastructure to support critical road and bridge projects, and to make up for pandemic-related losses in revenue to the Motor License Fund. The budget would also provide $44 million for career and technical schools, and would eliminate overtime regulations instituted by the governor’s administration.
“Pennsylvania’s economic recovery is our foremost concern, and this budget was crafted to support that goal,” Helm continued. “We need to make sure we maintain an environment for business to prosper and to make sure our students have the knowledge and skills they need. I’m especially happy to see continued funding to Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology included in this budget.”
Recognizing the ongoing costs related to COVID-19 mitigation, this budget allocates $282 million in federal relief funds to help nursing homes, assisted living and personal care homes with costs related to personal protective equipment, staff testing and other pandemic related costs. This budget also includes money to provide services for people living with intellectual disabilities as well as community-based services for older Pennsylvanians.
In addition to keeping taxes level, the budget would secure Pennsylvania’s fiscal future by depositing over $2.5 billion into the Rainy Day Fund and preserving over $5 billion in federal funds to be used in future budgets.
“After what we saw when previous administrations were quick to spend leftover federal stimulus funds from the 2008 recession, we are working to avoid repeating history,” Helm said. “As we have seen over the past year and a half, anything can happen. We need to be prepared for if, and when, it does.”
Senate Bill 255
, once signed in both the House and the Senate, will be sent to the governor for his signature.
For more information on Helm and her legislative priorities, please visit RepHelm.com
Representative Sue Helm
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe