Harrisburg — Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) said he will join fellow members of the Senate Appropriations Committee in reviewing the $34.1 billion state budget proposed today by Gov. Tom Wolf.
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $927.3 million (2.8 percent) increase in state spending from the current fiscal year.
Senator Scavello applauded the Governor for proposing no new taxes and additional funding for education and human services. However, he said spending levels need to be reviewed to prevent tax increases in future years, and noted the need to take steps to reduce recidivism among Pennsylvania’s former inmate population.
“Judicial reforms being implemented across Pennsylvania will result in former inmates looking for jobs. If we don’t give incentives to employers to hire them, they are going to be back in the system,” Scavello said. “All of the dollars being saved by judicial reforms should be used to link the newly released with jobs so that we can reduce recidivism.”
Senator Scavello also said he was pleased with funding for workforce development. “One of my priorities as a member of the Legislature has been to bring new businesses into Pennsylvania and to foster family sustaining jobs, and training people to fill those jobs is a necessary component to achieving job growth and economic success.”
Senator Scavello said he remains committed to getting the Commonwealth to create a full-day Career and Technical Education program in the 40th Senate District and across Pennsylvania. “We have too many students going into debt for a college degree they are not going to use, or spending hours of their school day on a bus traveling from their high school to their vocational-technical school,” he said. “Full-day Career and Technical education would eliminate both of these problems.”
Finally, Senator Scavello said he was disappointed by what the Governor did not discuss.
“I was hoping to hear him say something about school property taxes, the number one issue for constituents in my legislative district, and was disappointed that he did not,” said Scavello, who has been a leading advocate for eliminating school property taxes. “Hopefully, he can be pushed in the direction of supporting what so many people across Pennsylvania are demanding.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a three-week series of Departmental Budget Hearings beginning on February 19. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Appropriations Committee to hear cabinet secretaries and other Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The state’s current fiscal year ends on June 30.
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