Philadelphia, July 10, 2022 – State Senator Jimmy Dillon (D-Philadelphia) today issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of a $45 billion state budget for fiscal year 2022-23.
“As the newest member of the State Senate, I entered this budget process with a clear mandate from my district. My constituents wanted us to focus on public safety and provide financial assistance that they can feel it when they sit down at the kitchen table.This budget achieves some of those goals, but we could have done more for the people of Pennsylvania.
“During these negotiations, my top priority was to fight for every Philadelphian tired of living in fear because of the gun violence that plagues our region. I believe this budget will have a positive impact on public safety. $135 million increase for local law enforcement support will cover technology upgrades, equipment purchases and personnel costs A $50 million increase in gun violence grants will help with tracing firearms used in the commission of crimes and will provide additional assistance related to the investigation and prosecution of firearms offences.
“Another key achievement of this budget is $75 million for violence prevention and intervention programs. These funds will support local anti-violence organizations best positioned to address the sources of gun violence in their communities. Because mental health and public safety are inextricably linked, this year we will spend an additional $100 million on life-saving adult mental health support.
“We know that the best way to invest taxpayers’ money is where it will do the most good – in our families, our schools and our communities. That’s why I voted for an additional $140 million to increase property tax and rent rebate payments to landlords and tenants, $300 million for water infrastructure and $100 million for parks and recreation, $35 million for nursing student loan forgiveness, $250 million for retirement homes, social workers and long-term care facilities, and $90 million for child care assistance. These smart investments in people will create greater short-term financial stability and a better financial future for those who are currently struggling.
“The truly historic part of this year’s budget is the $1.1 billion investment in education, from kindergarten to college. These expenses will help our children and communities thrive, make schools safer, and allow local school districts to maintain or reduce property taxes. $525 million for basic education, $225 million for chronically underfunded school districts, $100 million for special education, and $100 million for school safety is a much-needed priority for our children and the future of this Commonwealth.
“These investments can be made through sound fiscal management by Democrats. We can offer a helping hand to our constituents without raising their taxes. It’s not perfect. Due to the Commonwealth’s unprecedented income surplus, we should have done more to help working families and alleviate the economic hardship they are feeling at the moment. Failure to raise the minimum wage, make significant property tax reform, or institute a gas tax exemption will be viewed as a missed opportunity to provide financial stability to the people we serve. .
“The progress we’ve made with this budget is a great start, but I will continue to prioritize investments in the kitchen table that will directly help Northeast Philadelphia and all everyday Pennsylvanians.”