HARRISBURG – State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) is concerned about the governor’s proposed 2020-2021 spending plan, which was unveiled today.
Mastriano plans to carefully study the $36.1 billion state General Fund budget that was unveiled before a joint session of the General Assembly.
“The bottom line is this budget includes a $1.5 billion spending hike, there are cuts to agriculture, there is a reduction to the popular school safety program and – among other concerns – there is a decrease to Lyme disease initiatives,” said Mastriano. “The governor proclaimed there were ‘no new taxes’ in his proposal, however this is not true. There are multiple new taxes, fees and levies throughout his budget.”
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $1.5 billion (4.2 percent) increase in state spending from the current fiscal year. Even though a broad-based tax hike has not been proposed, the Governor is continuing to push for a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, a $1 per-ton increase in the fee charged to trash companies, and a fee for all municipalities for State Police services.
Mastriano also voiced concern that the Governor wants to hire more staff at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“Bringing additional staff aboard DEP will not resolve any of the issues that municipalities and constituents are facing regarding the rain tax and MS4,” said Mastriano. “It is mind-boggling that this concept is even being considered. I am requesting accountability and consistency, not additional staff.”
Mastriano noted that the Governor would like to cut school safety grant funding by $45 million, and that multiple reductions in agriculture are proposed, including decreases in research, promotion, education and marketing.
“I am looking forward to working with the Senate Appropriations Committee in reducing the proposed spending and ensuring there are no tax hikes,” said Mastriano. “It is important that agriculture is fully-funded, that we hold government accountable and we continue to fund education at historic levels.”
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