Shusterman applauds final passage of bipartisan state budget

PAOLI, Dec. 14 – Late last night, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed into law the remaining school and fiscal code bills that will fund the 2023-24 Pennsylvania state budget. This legislation is a significant bipartisan accomplishment, which proves that the commonwealth is functioning as intended and effective compromise is alive and well in Pennsylvania, according to state Rep. Melissa Shusterman.

The final budget now includes a major expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit program, $100 million for student mental health services, $50 million to support struggling community hospitals, $50 million to improve 911, and additional investments in public safety, community colleges, libraries, teachers, and police.

Shusterman, D-Chester, applauds the successful passage of a package of commonsense bills that will provide essential funding and reforms to move Pennsylvania forward. She said she is also proud to be a co-prime sponsor of HB1259, the Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit program.

"Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation where the House and Senate are controlled by different political parties. Unfortunately, this has led to years of legislative gridlock. It’s truly an honor to have legislation I sponsored signed into law, especially since it will put more money back into the pockets of nearly a quarter million families and enable parents to return to the workforce. This is a historic investment in Pennsylvania families, and both sides of the aisle agree that it is the right thing to do," Shusterman said.

Building on the $567 million increase in basic education funding (BEF) for Pennsylvania school districts – the largest BEF increase in history – and the $46.5 million increase to provide universal free breakfast to 1.7 million Pennsylvania K-12 students, the school code bills signed by Shapiro last night also include $261 million for community colleges, $100 million for student mental health services, $70.5 million for libraries, and $10 million to provide Pennsylvania’s student teachers with stipends so the commonwealth can get more well-trained teachers into classrooms.

Shusterman continued, “Investing in education is a sound investment in our future. Skilled teachers, knowledgeable librarians, and access to community college can create opportunities for students and help them build the foundations for solid careers. Our state needs skilled workers now more than ever, so we are committed to funding education and apprenticeships to help PA businesses stay competitive. Additionally, it's important to ease some of the financial burden for student-teachers to encourage them to remain in the profession.” 

Shusterman said this budget will help build safer communities by supporting the work of law enforcement and first responders, promoting anti-violence initiatives, and pursuing smart reforms to keep people safe.

“This is a fiscally responsible budget that still funds vital programs for our communities. We are helping state police recruit and train nearly 400 new troopers and we are strengthening 911 service across the state. This funding will help fill staffing gaps for critical public safety positions for those on the front lines of keeping our communities safe.”