Hess Says New Budget Proposal is Movement in the Right Direction
As the state budget impasse continues in Harrisburg, Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon) recently signed on as co-sponsor to legislation that would end the stalemate and get funding flowing to school districts, colleges and social services.
“It’s important that we bring about a quick resolution to the budget to prevent further harm to those who depend on state government programs and services,” Hess said. “The budget deadlock is extending beyond the Capitol by affecting thousands of families throughout the Commonwealth.”
Through bipartisan support, the budget proposal drafted by Rep. Mario Civera (R-Delaware), Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, would spend $27.47 billion for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which is more than $700 million less than the budget enacted last year.
Most importantly, Hess noted, this budget is balanced and would not require a tax increase. It would use one-time revenue sources to balance the plan, including use of the Rainy Day Fund, the Health Care Provider Retention Account and delaying the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT).
“This is a compromise solution to get government back on track serving the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Hess said. “Due to economic uncertainty, it’s prudent for state government to live within its means and ensure our economic future is secure.”
Hess noted that although prior budget proposals eliminated funding for several important programs, the current plan restores funding for burn centers, critical access hospitals, trauma centers, obstetrics and neonatal services, regional cancer institutes, crop insurance, agriculture research, payment to Pennsylvania fairs and the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children.
“These are services that truly provide a valuable benefit to the residents of the 78th District,” Hess said. “I am pleased this plan restores funding for these vital programs.”
Additionally, the Civera budget proposal would increase funding for school districts by $150 million, totaling $5.38 billion; provide an additional $19.7 million for Head Start, totaling $39.5 million; and increase funding for public libraries by $13 million, totaling $50 million.
Hess said that although the General Assembly sent a budget to the governor on Aug. 4, he eliminated nearly $13 billion by vetoing funding for critical programs, such as long-term care, food banks, basic and special education, community colleges, cancer screening services, local health departments, grants to students for higher education, Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), veterans assistance, child care services and assistance, county child welfare and homeless assistance.
“I believe the governor was wrong for totally eliminating funding for programs and services that the people of Pennsylvania rely on,” Hess said. “I am hopeful that Representative Civera’s compromise budget proposal will be quickly acted upon in the General Assembly to free up funding to these important programs and put an end to the budget impasse.”
Rep. Dick Hess
78th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(814) 623-9097
(717) 787-7076
Contact: Tim Eller
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 260-6242
Member site: DickHess.com
Caucus Site: PAHouseGop.com