SCRANTON, February 3, 2021 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed $37.8 billion state budget:

“As we continue to face the uncertainty and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Wolf has outlined an aggressive budget proposal that prioritizes fair education funding, our economy and public health.”

“The 2021-22 state budget rightly proposes that all state funding for basic education is distributed through the Fair Funding Formula. The Fair Funding Formula was adopted in 2016 as a way to more equitably fund public education – until now, only new funding was subject to the formula. By increasing Basic Education by $1.35 billion and distributing all funding more equitably, this budget would significantly and positively impact districts in our region – particularly Scranton School District. The budget also importantly proposes Charter School reforms that would save school districts $229 million.”

“The pandemic has also exacerbated problems for our small business community and our workforce. The IFO estimates that our Commonwealth has lost 450,000 during the pandemic and businesses at every corner are struggling to stay afloat. The Governor proposes to invest $3 billion in our workers and businesses through his Back to Work PA plan to stabilize our economy and get Pennsylvanians back to work.”

“Our public health system has been pushed to the brink by COVID-19 and this budget ensures that we protect our most vulnerable citizens and better positions our communities to address this crisis. The Governor proposes $8.3 million to help county and municipal health departments fight COVID-19 – and it is my hope that the City of Scranton and Lackawanna County continue their work to create a Department of Health here in our community.”

“The budget proposal again includes a number of business tax fairness issues that I have worked to legislate since taking office – closing the Delaware Loophole and lowering our Corporate Net Income Tax.”

“I look forward to further reviewing the Governor’s proposal and working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft a responsible spending plan that reflects the needs of our communities, our business community and our residents.”

# # #