Monroe County Republicans Favor House Passage of 2012-13 State Budget
HARRISBURG – Paving the way toward a fiscally stable future in the Commonwealth, Reps. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe), Rosemary M. Brown (R-Pike/Monroe) and Mike Peifer (R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne) today voted in favor of the final passage of the 2012-13 state budget which passed through the General Assembly and heads to the Senate.

“As Pennsylvania continues to bounce back from the economic recession, it was impossible to draft a fiscally responsible budget that didn’t include tough cuts to programs or tax increases on our hard-working citizens,” said Scavello, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Luckily, better-than-anticipated tax collections in the second half of the fiscal year restored funding to K-12 and higher education and services for intellectual disabilities.”

The $27.7 million budget contained no tax increases and avoided the deep cuts that school districts and public universities saw in last year’s budget.

“Due to improving revenue collections, this budget dedicated more state funding for school districts in our area, along with level funding for the state-owned and state-related universities and additional financial support to address the waiting list for individuals with intellectual disabilities,” Brown said.

“This was another difficult budget year for the Commonwealth,” said Peifer, also a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Throughout the process, we remained committed to funding our schools and universities, as well as other core government services, while also ensuring we live within our means.”

With the addition of $100 million included for the Accountability Block Grant program, all school districts will be funded at the same level or get more than they did last budget year. This budget also allocated $50 million for distressed school districts.

In fact, the estimated 2012-13 Basic Education Funding, Accountability Block Grant and other education funding for school districts in Monroe County compared to this budget year is, combined, more than $10 million.

Here’s the breakdown of school funding, as proposed under this budget plan: East Stroudsburg Area School District would see an increase of $1.8 million, Pleasant Valley School District’s funding would increase by $1.4 million, Pocono Mountain School District would an increase by $4.7 million and Stroudsburg Area School District would see an increase of $2.9 million.

The House also restored $246 million for higher education, which means state-owned and state-related universities will continue to be level funded for fiscal year 2012-13. The 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which includes East Stroudsburg University, will receive a $412.75 million appropriation for the fiscal year that starts on Sunday.

Other highlights of the budget include the restoration of $84 million to the governor’s proposed 20 percent cut to human services, which will allow Monroe County and other communities across the state to deliver vital services to its most vulnerable citizens. This budget also added $17.8 million to reduce the intellectual disability waiting list by 700 special education graduates and 430 individuals who reside with elderly caregivers.

Furthermore, funding was restored by the Legislature to level fund supplemental hospital programs, protect research dollars and preserve funding for the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund, Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase and Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Fund.

“It’s easy to become a Monday morning quarterback now that everything is said and nearly done. However, this is the best budget that keeps the Commonwealth moving forward in the right direction,” said Scavello.

State Representative Rosemary M. Brown
189th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
State Representative Michael Peifer
139th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

State Representative Mario M. Scavello
176th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Lauren Whetzel
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