James Votes for Balanced, Responsible Budget Approved by House

HARRISBURG – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) today voted for the $28.376 billion state budget bill approved by the House that would provide the largest amount of state dollars in kindergarten through 12th-grade education in Pennsylvania’s history without increasing taxes on Commonwealth residents.  The vote sent the annual spending plan to the governor in time to be signed before the clock ran out on the June 30 deadline.

“The budget we approved supports the key functions of government without further burdening Pennsylvania taxpayers with a tax increase on personal income,” James said.  “The budget is balanced, meaning the Commonwealth will only spend the money it expects to collect.  As a fiscal conservative and former businessman, that’s important to me and it’s important to the people of our district.  They expect government to live by the same rules they follow in their own lives.”

The budget includes the largest investment of state dollars in grade schools in the Commonwealth’s history.  The fact that the budget accomplishes this without raising taxes, according to James, is good news for future of Pennsylvania’s economy.

“Our children are the future workers and job creators of our economy, so I’m proud of the investment we are making in their education,” James said.  “At the same time, the fact that this budget will not increase taxes on job creators across the Commonwealth is a positive development for our economy.  Allowing businesses and other taxpayers to keep, spend and invest their own dollars is the best way to improve our economic outlook.”

While detractors have falsely claimed the state has cut funding for education, the truth is that schools lost federal stimulus money – not state dollars – in the past.

“It’s disingenuous to suggest that state taxpayers should somehow try to fill in the federal stimulus dollars, which – let’s not forget – were borrowed and taxpayers across America will be paying back for years to come,” James said.  “Arguing the Commonwealth should somehow follow the federal stimulus plan enacted by the lawmakers in Washington, D.C., run up huge debts and worry about paying them back later would place our Commonwealth in the same financial chaos that has consumed our nation’s capital.”

As a freshman legislator, James was new to the hectic nature of budget negotiations that takes place near the June 30 deadline, when the state’s spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1 is due.

“As a businessman, this process was a new experience for me,” James said.  “Businesses constantly work with an eye toward the future and try to work ahead as much as possible.  In the state Capitol, the budget situation was very fluid and things were changing from minute to minute as the deadline was looming.  I am just pleased we were able to deliver an on-time budget for the constituents of our district and the people of Pennsylvania.”

The budget bill now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

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