HARRISBURG – Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) was pleased to support a fiscally responsible budget that stands up for taxpayers and prepares for the Commonwealth’s future.
“Budgeting isn’t just about what we need today and tomorrow – it’s also about what we need next year or even five years from now,” Dowling said. “With revenues up right now, some felt we should be spending more, but the reality is the federal stimulus funds are temporary and we have to be prepared for when that money dries up.”
The various COVID-19 relief funds provided by the federal government have sent billions to the Commonwealth and driven up revenue from sales taxes due to individuals spending their stimulus checks. However, Personal Income Tax collections show the need to get people back to work to shore up the state’s long-term revenue picture.
“The state received a one-time $7.3 billion allocation from the federal government to address long-term problems, so we spent some of it this year and will hold on to the rest for future budgets,” Dowling said. “We were also able to increase funding in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to $2.76 billion, an amount that will help protect against future tax increases or program cuts during times of economic downturn. Because if 2020 taught us anything, it was the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.”
The budget savings is especially remarkable given where the state was four months ago when Gov. Tom Wolf offered his budget proposal that included a massive spending increase, a new tax on energy and a $7 billion increase in state income taxes paid both by individuals and small employers who were already struggling under the weight of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
“This budget includes no new taxes or fees because we once again fought off the governor’s tax-and-spend priorities,” Dowling said.
While keeping spending in check, the budget is focused on funding the core functions of government. It includes a record $13.55 billion investment in preK-12 education. That includes $300 million more in basic education funding, $30 million more for special education and $50 million more for early childhood education. It directs $44 million of federal relief funds to career and technical education, and $350 million to address learning loss, summer enrichment and after school programs to help children whose education was negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Higher education received the same level of funding as last year. While Dowling voted for the full budget, he did oppose the bill directing funding to the University of Pittsburgh due to its ongoing fetal tissue research projects.
“Sending even one penny of taxpayer money to a school that participates in such research is disrespectful to these aborted babies who never had a chance to live, to grow and to enjoy the life given to them by our Creator,” he explained.
In addition to support for education, the budget includes funding to help nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living facilities continue to meet the costs of protecting against COVID-19. It provides funding for road and bridge projects, additional state police troopers, agriculture research and development, and more.
For more information about the 2021-22 state budget, visit www.pahousegop.com/2122PAbudget
Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives