Conklin issues 2021-22 budget statement

HARRISBURG, June 25 - State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, issued the following statement on the passage of the state’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget:

“This budget will send much-needed education funding to our local schools, one of the key components of the Pennsylvania Rescue Plan that I have supported over the last few months.

“We are investing $300 million in K-12 funding, with a third of that set aside for our most underfunded districts. This will help level the playing field and continue our work toward allowing every student – regardless of zip code, a chance to succeed.

“The budget also provides an additional $350 million to help students rebound from the disruptions of the past year, due to the pandemic.

"While this is good news for our schools, our children and our families, today's budget is, once again, a missed opportunity. This budget does not provide any asisstance to the local businesses impacted during the state COVID-19 shutdown, including restuarants, gyms, salons, and barber shops. It's baffling that, after more than a year of claiming to support small businesses during the pandemic, this budget contains nothing to help them on a path to recovery. We were sent billions of dollars to help our local businesses, and we should be using it, not letting it sit in savings.

“And like last year, this year’s budget does not contain a minimum wage increase, despite surrounding states having a higher minimum wage, nor does it contain any direct money for hazard pay or paid sick leave. That to me is a slap in the face to the thousands of frontline workers who risked their own health and wellbeing to support each of us.

“While I supported this budget for its investments in our children and our families, I remain disappointed by what it lacks in fully helping our residents and businesses recover from the pandemic.”