Briggs celebrates education and public safety budget wins

HARRISBURG, July 6 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, issued the following statement on the passage of the 2023-2024 fiscal year state budget.

“This budget represents a significant milestone in our efforts to build an inclusive economy, enhance community safety, and ensure quality education for all Pennsylvania children,” Briggs said. “Our commonwealth is poised for growth thanks to its unprecedented funding for K-12 education, robust investments in workforce development, strong support for community and economic development, and substantial allocations for agriculture and public safety.

“I was happy to vote yes because this budget includes a historic $1 billion investment in K-12 public education, the largest increase in the Basic Education Funding Formula in Pennsylvania's history. It also includes additional funding for underfunded schools, special education support, grants for school safety and environmental improvements, universal free breakfast and reduced-price lunch programs, stipends for student teachers, and support for dual enrollment opportunities.

“For the first time in state history, the General Assembly made allocations to fund indigent defense in Pennsylvania, ensuring defendants who cannot afford legal representation receive proper support. Previously, Pennsylvania was one of only two states in the country that did not allocate state funding for indigent defense, but that changed with this budget. $7.5 million has been secured to ensure public defenders have the resources they need to provide legal representation to defendants who cannot pay for it on their own.

“Additionally, the budget addresses public health concerns, including mental health, maternal mortality, and support for emergency medical services and healthcare providers. Public safety stands to benefit from infrastructure repair and law enforcement support, with sustainable funding for the Pennsylvania State Police, investments in trooper training, funding for violence intervention and prevention, and initiatives for pardons processing and campus safety.

“This budget reflects the state's priorities, with investments benefiting students, teachers, seniors, families, farmers, workers, law enforcement, emergency responders, and business owners. Overall, this budget demonstrates critical investments in various sectors, aiming to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians and strengthen the state's future.”