James Votes for Budget Bill Approved by House Providing Historic Levels of State Education Funding

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) today voted for a $28.3 billion state budget that would provide the most state dollars in history to support education in the Commonwealth.

“The House budget represents a historic commitment to Pennsylvania students and their parents,” James said.  “The budget we approved would deliver more state funding for education than at any time in our Commonwealth’s history.”

The House budget would provide a $100 million boost in basic education funding, which helps local school districts to provide an education for students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.  Funding for basic education would increase to more than $5.5 billion.

The total budget for the state Department of Education would increase by nearly $275 million to $10.3 billion.  Many of these dollars are passed along to local school districts to support schools and deliver programs for students.

The House budget also honors an agreement made earlier this year between the governor and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).  Under that agreement, the governor promised level and stable state funding and the state-owned universities – including Slippery Rock University and Clarion University – agreed to hold tuition rate hikes to the rate of inflation.

“The House upheld the Commonwealth’s end of the agreement by providing the same level of funding for state universities as they received this year,” James said.  “This shows our commitment to our students and the families that often help them pay for a higher education.”

While not addressed in the state budget bill approved today by the House, James noted he is cognizant of the need for funding to fix the state’s deteriorating system of roads and bridges.

“Any attempt to provide additional revenues to fix our roads and bridges will likely be taken up in a supplemental bill,” James said.  “The Senate has passed a proposal to provide additional funding for our transportation system.  The House is in the process of reviewing that proposal.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House, our counterparts in the Senate and the administration to finalize a transportation funding bill to restore our roads and bridges.”

State budget bills must be approved in the same form by both the House and Senate.  The House bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.  If amended by the Senate, the bill would return to the House.  Once a final bill is approved by both chambers, it must be signed into law by the governor.

“We are moving forward in the long process of adopting a state budget,” James said.  “In February, the governor unveiled his proposal.  Now, the House has approved its own plan.  Next, the Senate will be given a chance to weigh in.  The final budget bill will likely reflect a compromise between the three negotiating entities.  We have a way to go, but this reflects significant progress toward delivering a balanced, on-time state budget.”

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Dan Massing
RepJames.com / Facebook.com/RepLeeJames
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