Gillen Votes for State Budget Approved by House
HARRISBURG — Rep. Mark Gillen (R-Berks) today voted for the state budget bill approved by the House, calling it a balanced and fiscally responsible spending plan that funds core functions of state government without increasing the burden on taxpayers.
“The Commonwealth Constitution requires that we adopt a balanced budget and we have met that obligation,” Gillen said. “The passage of the budget from the House to the Senate has laid the groundwork for the second on-time budget in a row.”
The state budget includes no tax hikes and will increase spending by less than 1.5 percent over last year.
Gillen applauded the restoration of millions of dollars for schools, universities and education programs in the budget approved by the House.
When Gov. Tom Corbett originally outlined his budget proposal in February, he was forced to make drastic cuts due to low revenue numbers. In the past few months, state revenues have rebounded, which allowed the House to restore some of the cuts that were proposed.
Schools and education-related programs across the Commonwealth will benefit from a more than $300 million increase in funding above what they received last year.
While the original budget proposal called for significant cuts to higher education funding, legislators were able to use the higher-than-expected revenues to fill those holes and provide universities with the same level of funding as they received last year.
“This budget represents our firm commitment to support Pennsylvania students,” Gillen said.
Gillen also was pleased that farm preservation programs will continue to benefit from a dedicated funding source. Agricultural preservation programs have been funded in recent years through a portion of the state tax on cigarettes. That dedicated funding came into question earlier in the budget process, but was maintained in the final agreement.
“Agricultural programs in general and farm preservation in particular are deserving of continued financial support,” Gillen said. “We have a proud agricultural heritage in Pennsylvania and it should be maintained for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”
The budget bill now heads to the state Senate for concurrence.
State Representative Mark Gillen
128th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing