HARRISBURG, June 30, 2016 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana provided the following comment yesterday afternoon after the state Senate voted 47-3 in favor of a bipartisan 2016-17 fiscal budget (Senate Bill 1073). The bill now returns to the House for consideration.

“Like all negotiated agreements, there are areas I support — and areas I don’t. Overall, this is a responsible and balanced spending plan that provides critical funding and resources to important programs and services.

“I am particularly pleased by the legislature’s bipartisan agreement to provide over $250 million in increased funding for our public schools. This places school funding at a historical high – and actually exceeds the level of education dollars distributed during the federal stimulus funding years.

“I am proud of the Senate’s insistence in amending the House legislation to provide 2.5 percent funding increases to Pennsylvania colleges; as well as a $7.7 million increase for PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) student grant and loan programs.

“It’s also important to emphasize that this budget increases spending on programs and services by 5 percent without any broad-based tax increases.

“In the coming year, I hope the legislature can continue to work cooperatively on innovative ways to invest more dollars in economic investment initiatives, social safety net programs and statewide public works projects.”

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