HARRISBURG – State Reps. Tommy Sankey (R-Osceola Mills) and Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown) today voted to support Senate Bill 255, the primary piece of legislation which makes up the 2021-22 state budget package. The bill, which passed by a 140-61 margin, now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
The Cambria County legislators issued the following statement after passage of the bill, which includes no new taxes and fees, responsible spending increases and another record amount of funding for basic education funding:
“The spending bill we helped advance today for the coming fiscal year is a good plan for a number of reasons, maybe the best of which is what it doesn’t do. Our latest revenue numbers look very good, but this is not the time to forget that many Pennsylvanians are still hurting, and the COVID-19 pandemic will have long term effects.
“The sheltering of state tax revenue in the Rainy Day Fund, a practice that resumed a few years ago, is one reason why we are surviving to this point. Depositing more than $2.5 billion more into the fund and preserving more than $5 billion in federal relief funds for future budgets is prudent and fiscally responsible.
“Past practice also allows us to once again fund education at historic levels - eclipsing the $7 billion figure in Basic Education Funding for the first time, and increasing Early Childhood Education Funding (Pre-K Counts and Head Start) by $30 million and Special Education Funding by $50 million. All told, PreK-12 education is supported to the tune of $13.55 billion. Additionally, Blacklick Valley, Ferndale Area, Glendale, Greater Johnstown and West Branch Area school districts were allocated additional funding through the Level Up program, which supports our most economically-challenged districts.
“This budget protects vulnerable citizens by using federal relief funds to help nursing homes, assisted living and personal care homes. It protects communities by funding two new State Police cadet classes and allocating $30 million for violence intervention and prevention.
“We are by no means out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19 and its potentially devastating impact on our economy. Considering the circumstances, Senate Bill 255 is the right course of action for Pennsylvania.”