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Oberlander Votes for No Tax Increase State Budget

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 @ 12:06 AM

Posted by exploreClarion

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) on Tuesday gave her support to a bipartisan $33.997 billion state budget that does not increase taxes or fees and spends less than the governor initially requested.

It passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 140-62 before going to the state Senate for its approval.

“This budget responds to the needs of our communities, from increasing the amount of money our local schools will receive to helping our agriculture industry, and doesn’t burden them with higher taxes or fees,” Oberlander said. “Together with a growing national economy and higher than expected revenues, we’ve been able to make smart financial decisions that have allowed us to prioritize funding for critical programs that benefit our residents.”

The total budget is 1.8% higher than the current fiscal year’s budget, which ends Sunday, and sets aside $250 million in the Rainy Day Fund.

Oberlander noted that this budget invests in workforce development and connecting in-demand jobs to career training programs, a need that was highlighted this spring by the efforts of the House Majority Policy Committee, which she chairs.

“Good jobs and a strong economy lift all boats,” she said. “By providing greater access to workforce development programs, we can help match up job seekers with expanding opportunities. This is a win-win for everyone.”

Education funding takes up the largest percentage of the budget at 43% or $14.7 billion. Increases include $432 million more for prekindergarten through 12th-grade education, $50 million more for special education, and an additional $10 million for career and technical education. Higher education spending for community colleges and the State System of Higher Education, which includes Clarion University, is also being raised by 2%.

Additional support will also be sent to public libraries.

Specifically, local school districts will receive state funding in the following amounts:

  • Allegheny-Clarion: $8,996,817
  • Armstrong: $51,861,409
  • Clarion Area: $5,320,981
  • Clarion-Limestone: $8,509,955
  • Forest Area: $5,021,541
  • Karns City: $15,445,982
  • Keystone: $10,838,959
  • North Clarion: $5,318,116
  • Redbank Valley: $13,014,809
  • Union: $8,508,909

Another significant segment of the budget invests in the state’s leading industry, with $19.5 million more for agriculture. The additional investments will be directed toward livestock and consumer protection along with animal health and diagnostics. A new program is established for agriculture businesses and workforce investment. In total, agriculture line items in the new state budget will see a 12.8% increase of $19.5 million.

“The budget bill we passed today reflects the priorities of the taxpayers. We’re better managing their money, investing wisely, educating our students, cutting unnecessary spending and saving for the future,” Oberlander added.

The new budget, once passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, will take effect July 1.


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