Harrisburg, June 30, 2013 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today issued the following statement after the senate passed a new $28.3 billion budget by a vote of 33-17. Fontana opposed the measure (House Bill 1437):

“With this budget, the Corbett Administration and legislative Republicans largely ignored the state’s biggest challenges and problems.

Creating jobs and spurring economic development should be the legislature’s top priority. This spending plan largely flat funds proven economic development programs and important job creation assistance programs such as Regional Economic Partnerships, Discovered in PA or infrastructure facilities grants.

Also, while I am pleased that the state is increasing public school funding by $130 million, this budget leaves distressed schools out in the cold. I am outraged that majority Republicans found $30 million to throw at expanding schools in booming areas while ignoring the dire financial problems facing struggling communities such as Sto-Rox, Aliquippa, Clairton and Sharon.

Schools in high-growth areas have the resources to raise additional revenue to meet their growth needs. Distressed schools do not have the tax or real estate base to avoid drastic educational cuts, teacher furloughs or devastating tax hikes.

This budget demonstrates an alarming disregard for poor working families and vulnerable people who are struggling to make ends meet.

While it is not all bad, it could have been much better. This budget is one of missed opportunities.”

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