Brown Releases Statement Following Shapiro’s Budget Address
This week marks the beginning of the state budget process. Governor Shapiro presented his proposal to the legislature for lawmakers to begin the work of delivering an effective and responsible budget for Pennsylvania.
I was pleased to be one of six lawmakers asked to escort the Governor to the joint legislative session.
You must look at a state budget like how you would look at your personal budget. Of course, it is much larger and more complex, but the core principles remain the same. The state does need a savings account to pay the bills during an economic downturn. This financial cushion protects you from tax increases and budget cuts. As presented, Shapiro’s budget wipes out our state savings account within 5 years.
As presented, the governor’s 2024-25 proposal represents a 7.1% increase in overall spending – $3.2 billion more in state expenditures. This budget would eliminate the state’s current and future budgetary reserves, making it difficult to balance future budgets.
In a divided government, nothing gets done unless it has the support of both parties. This is why I’m pleased to see multiple areas of shared interest. This legislative session, I’ve focused on common-sense proposals, including addressing the mental health crisis, cyber charter funding reform and bolstering the state’s response to seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia. All these proposals were mentioned in the governor’s address.
Specifically, the Governor’s proposal would provide the necessary funding for my Alzheimer’s and Dementia Infrastructure Bill.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, during the next several months, the committee will work to examine the governor’s proposal in depth, focusing on bringing expenditures more aligned with revenue projections and smart government spending.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin budget hearings on Feb. 20th.
Senate Passes Resolution Supporting Texas in Securing the Border
This week, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 234 – supporting Governor Greg Abbott in securing the border. I spoke on the floor in support of this proposal – see my floor remarks in the video above or by clicking here.
Public Comment Regarding PPL Settlement Open Now
In late 2022 and early 2023, PPL customers experienced unusually high or low estimated bills, missing monthly bills and inadequate customer service support resulting in customers’ inability to reach PPL Call Center representatives to discuss their billing concerns.
To address those issues, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) will evaluate and consider a joint settlement. As part of the evaluation, a public comment period regarding the proposed settlement is active through Feb. 28.
Customers may submit a comment by e-filing through the PUC or sending a written comment at the address below. All comments should reference the docket number of the case: M-2023-3038060.
Out and About Listening to You
TOP LEFT: Last weekend, I attended the Marshalls Creek Fire Company’s annual banquet to thank and honor these amazing volunteers. I was so pleased to specifically honor Norm Fish, for 55 years of service and Tom Rode, for 45 years of service.
TOP RIGHT: This week, the Kiwanis Club of the Stroudsburgs honored Lou Vento for his years of dedicated service and steadfast support to volunteerism within the community. Lou also recently celebrated his 80th birthday.
BOTTOM LEFT: Northampton Community College – Monroe hosted a ribbon cutting today, opening their “Zen Zone”. Offering a space to support mental health and wellness.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Quality childcare is extremely important to our families and community. Last week, I stopped to congratulate Inch by Inch Childcare in Mt Pocono for their achievement of 3 starts with our state’s Keystone Stars Program.