HARRISBURG – (July 8, 2022) Sen. Michele Brooks issued the following statement on the General Fund budget vote today:
This budget will be a game-changer for our economy, our schoolchildren, our families, and every Pennsylvanian as it helps to meet current needs and lays a solid foundation for the future.
In an initiative I have worked on for years, the budget includes language to gradually scale back the corporate net income (CNI) tax rate in Pennsylvania –among the highest in the country. As the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 447 to reduce the CNI incrementally, I am pleased that the budget reduces this business tax from 9.99 percent to 8.99 initially, and then thereafter reduces it by a one-half percent until the rate reaches 4.99 percent in 2031. This rollback positions Pennsylvania for greater success and job growth, by helping existing businesses expand their workforce, attracting new businesses to Pennsylvania, and easing the burden on hard-working Pennsylvanians who are battling inflation, skyrocketing gas prices, and other ballooning costs. It’s a misconception that only large corporations are helped by a reduction in the CNI rate; in truth, it helps local family-owned manufacturers and businesses who have invested here at home in local jobs, and all consumers who are dealing with prices that reflect costs that businesses pass on to them at the cash register.
In the aftermath of yet more horrifying violence in schools nationwide, the plan also builds on the already-substantial investments we have made in school safety and mental health. Approximately $200 million in additional funding is included in this budget to address school-based mental health programs as well as school safety grants.
We have also made significant investments in agriculture, our Number One industry. These investments include increased funding to our Cooperative Extension offices, as well as for combatting the spread of Avian influenza and the spotted lanternfly. We are also providing greater assistance to our local rural health hospitals, who provide medical care close to home. As the prime sponsor of a multi-bill package on Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases, I am pleased that the state’s support for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme and other tickborne diseases has been increased this year.
In addition, we have bolstered the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, which helps seniors, widows and widowers, and those with disabilities afford rising property taxes and rent, through an influx of federal funds into the state Lottery Fund.
The budget also adds $2.1 billion to the Rainy Day Fund to provide a fiscal cushion for taxpayers, protecting them from major tax increases in the years to come as inflation continues to cripple household budgets and the economy.
Importantly, the newly approved state budget also includes language to require the Auditor General to conduct financial audits of entities that receive funds through contracts with the Department of Human Services, which adds more accountability to contracts that often lack transparency.
Building on our efforts last year to help address the serious financial challenges of nursing homes and long-term care providers, as well to expand home care, Senate Bill 1100 includes major funding increases for long-term care, assisted living, personal care, and home care.
More than a series of line-items, this bipartisan spending package saves for a rainy day, yet makes sound investments that enhance the Commonwealth’s competitive edge in attracting, creating and retaining additional jobs and in so many other areas impacting our daily lives.
Senate Bill 1100 was sent to the governor for enactment.