HARRISBURG (February 3, 2021) – Senator Tim Kearney (D – Delaware/Chester), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement on Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed 2021 budget.
After a year of hell for Pennsylvania families and our economy, I am pleased by Governor Wolf’s budget priorities for getting us up and running on the road to full recovery. We need to invest in Pennsylvanians now. We can’t pass off business as usual in response to an economic and public health catastrophe. Our response must meet the moment.
We need to bring our family, friends, and neighbors back into the workforce with high-paying middle-class jobs. I am happy to see Governor Wolf is calling for billions to go into workforce development and worker assistance to get people who were laid off back to work. The proposed budget will help businesses, restaurants, museums, and theaters fully reopen and do it safely. It is also going to prepare us for tomorrow’s economy, which will mean training our workers to make Pennsylvania the best place to start a new business.
Our kids need to be back in school, and our school buildings need to be safe for our students and teachers to return. Our children are too important for us to allow them to be overcrowded in classrooms, exposed to pollution and poor ventilation. In response, the Governor is calling for us to open the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for school facilities and broadband development. There are no better projects for our local economy in the short and long term.
Beyond repairing our facilities, this budget calls for justice in school funding. Pennsylvania has chronically underfunded our schools, forcing property taxes to soar among those who can least afford it. This is an appalling and shameful setup that hasn’t been improved by the largely unused Fair Funding Formula. Governor Wolf is rightly calling us to put all our existing funding through the formula, while ensuring that no school district loses funding through the reallocation. This is a step in the right direction for our families and our future.
Finally, I am very pleased the Governor is prioritizing our public health through local health departments. Delaware County is the largest county in the nation without a health department. The county is now in the process of starting its own health department, which will greatly improve health services for over 565,000 Delco residents while easing the burden on the Chester County Health Department. The Governor’s proposed investment in local health departments will help our communities drive back the virus and help our economy rebound faster.
These investments in our workers, our schools, and our health are going to bring Pennsylvania back stronger and smarter than before. This budget puts us on the path to a better future for our Commonwealth.