Philadelphia – November 20, 2020 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) released the following statement on the state budget:
“The budget plan introduced yesterday denies Pennsylvania a just recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our communities. Thousands have died, business owners have lost a lifetime of work and investments, tens of thousands are unemployed, and the pandemic has no end in sight. Now is the time to send much-needed relief directly to those in need.
Instead, this budget plan redirects $1.3 billion in Federal CARES Act funding into state coffers. This funding was meant to support restaurants, small businesses, hospitals, and frontline workers. This plan also needlessly cuts agency spending across state government. The plan underfunds the DHS programs for the most vulnerable by nearly a half billion dollars. This pain is avoidable.
Instead of this scheme, we must chart a different course. We can direct the Federal Cares money to those in need while maintaining critical state services at current levels – and without raising taxes. This is exactly what we did in 2017, when we borrowed $1.5 billion, not due to crisis, but simply to avoid a tax increase. Our present circumstances are far more urgent than in 2017. We must borrow now so we can survive the current surge without cuts.
Our recovery from this crisis will be greatly eased by borrowing, which prevents cuts and allows CARES Act funds to be directed to our friends and neighbors who are hurting the most. Borrowing will strengthen a recovery and provide the money to pay it back. This path, not the one taken by the House, will lead to a just recovery and strengthen our economy.”