Cepeda-Freytiz applauds governor’s 2024-25 state budget proposal

READING, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, D-Berks, today praised Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 state budget and emphasized that the spending plan excludes new tax hikes.

Cepeda-Freytiz said she is particularly excited for the proposed investments in education, mental health and small, disadvantaged businesses.

“This budget invests in education at every level. We are talking about the largest increase in K-12 basic education funding in Pennsylvania history,” Cepeda-Freytiz said.

“I hail the $1.1 billion increase in basic education subsidies and significant funding for special education, school safety improvements, and universal free breakfast for 1.7 million students it calls for,” Cepeda-Freytiz said.

“I applaud the inclusion of feminine hygiene products at no cost to students. The overall allocations for education would certainly help address decades of disinvestment in this area,” she added.

The legislator highlighted that Shapiro continues to support mental health services by proposing investing $10 million for 988 crisis line operations to boost Pennsylvania’s crisis intervention services, among other provisions.

“Our community is experiencing challenging times when it comes to mental health,” she said. “I am proud to say that I, along with my colleagues, secured $100 million in the current budget for mental health services for K-12 schools to ensure that schools have continuous resources to offer quality mental health services.”

Cepeda-Freytiz also indicated that as a small business owner herself, she wholeheartedly supports the proposed investments in historically small, marginalized businesses.

The budget proposal allocates a $668,000 increase for the Department of General Services to promote contracting opportunities for small and diverse businesses.

“We must continue supporting and uplifting the hard work of small and disadvantaged business owners. I can relate to the struggle of small business owners, and I feel encouraged to do more for this segment of our economy,” Cepeda-Freytiz said. “I cannot wait to see the resulting local economic revitalization.”

In his plan, Shapiro proposed $25 million for the Main Street Matters program to support small businesses and commercial corridors. This new program would build upon and upgrade the Keystone Communities program, Cepeda-Freytiz said.