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HARRISBURG – June 28, 2019 – Yesterday, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget and related code bills and will now be sending them on to Governor Wolf for enactment. Senator Maria Collett (D-12, Bucks and Montgomery) wishes to share her reactions to the final budget:

“The final budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year features big boosts to education, including school safety, health and social services, veterans’ services and local infrastructure, specifically storm water management projects desperately needed in our district and across the Commonwealth to respond to more severe weather resulting from climate change. But it also reflects missed opportunities with respect to some of the issues my constituents care about the most, such as environmental protection, an increase in the minimum wage, and long overdue infrastructure improvements.”

POSITIVES

“The final budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year offers big boosts to education (including school safety), health and social services, and sewer and storm water management grants, some of the issues our local governments and constituents care the most about and our Democratic caucus has been fighting for.”

“As the Democratic Chair of the Senate’s Aging & Youth Committee, I am especially pleased to see increased investments in home and community-based care for seniors and moving people with intellectual disabilities off waiting lists for waiver services.”

  • “I am encouraged to see an increase in dedicated funding to the Department of Aging for the prevention and investigation of elder abuse.”
  • “I am heartened by the increased funds for services and attendant care for people with physical disabilities and the elderly.”
  • “These are funds desperately needed across the Commonwealth in a state with the 5th largest – and growing – elder population in the country.”

“One of the issues about which I’ve received the most feedback from constituents was the threat to medical assistance transportation services like TransNet and Bucks County Transport written into last year’s budget. For the time being, this threat has been resolved by delaying the adoption of a brokerage model until a sufficient study of the approach is completed by the Departments of Human Services, Transportation, and Aging. While I know my constituents will be relieved to hear this, there is still work to be done to ensure the delivery of high quality and reliable medical transportation remains uninterrupted.”

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

“The final budget also presents many missed opportunities to strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy and better the lives of working Pennsylvanians.”

“This budget prioritizes big business and special interests over the health and wellbeing of our citizens and our planet.”

  • “My district is still suffering because of decades of PFAS contamination at military installations in Horsham and Warminster. Surface and groundwater contamination continue unchecked and at a time when we should be increasing our efforts to clean up our water and address the health risks of these dangerous contaminants, the budget instead shifts $21 million from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources into the Oil and Gas Lease Fund. This is appalling.”
  • “The budget actually shifts $26 million of funds earmarked for recycling and environmental stewardship to general operating and overhead costs and prohibits the transfer of funds from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to our Environmental Stewardship Fund.”
  • “While this year’s budget touts more funds to sample and test water and soil for PFAS, these plans were already in the works and this investment is inadequate to move the ball forward in a meaningful way. Senate leadership dismissed the chance to tackle this environmental and public health crisis by classifying these contaminants under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) and setting a maximum contaminant level (MCL).”
  • “I was a proud supporter of the Governor’s proposal to increase the minimum wage. This would have begun to reverse decades of growing pay inequality between our lowest-paid workers and the middle class and made Pennsylvania more competitive with our neighboring states.” 
  • “This budget guts the General Assistance program that provides small monthly cash assistance grants to the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, those with less than $250 to their name, who are unable to work because of disability or other emergency situations, such as fleeing an abusive spouse or caring for a family member with cancer.”

  

 

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