Merski: Budget full of missed opportunities

HARRISBURG, June 26 – Saying that it fell “far short of what the moment requires,” state Rep. Bob Merski cast a “no” vote Friday for the Pennsylvania budget plan.

Merski, D-Erie, cited multiple missed opportunities to fully fund education and provide meaningful assistance to small businesses and working families.

“Although I was glad to see a $7 million increase to the Erie School District, it's merely 10% of what the governor proposed in his budget,” Merski said. “We had a chance to be bold and finally fully fund education, something we've been talking about for decades now.  

“We also had an opportunity to invest in our small businesses, including my bill to provide assistance to our local gyms, fitness centers and dance schools, but we left those small businesses hanging while they are still hurting and not fully recovered from the pandemic.”

Merski acknowledged that there are some positive aspects to the new state spending plan.

“While the shortfalls made it impossible for me to vote for the budget, there are some encouraging aspects to the plan,” Merski said. “Importantly, it holds the line on taxes so it will not add any new burdens on residents, and it will provide rent and utility assistance.

"And while education funding fell far short of the full, fair funding we need, the $100 million the budget commits to Level Up funding for the state’s most underfunded districts will move us in the right direction. Anything we can do to ensure our kids have the resources to compete – regardless of ZIP code – is a good start.”