2011-12 Budget Starts to Bring State Spending Under Control, Says Simmons

HARRISBURG – Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton) tonight voted in favor of the 2011-12 state budget, which was approved in the House of Representatives by a count of  109 to 92.  The $27.148 billion budget reduces spending by 4 percent, or $1.17 billion, from the current fiscal year and does not raise taxes.  Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign the budget before the June 30 deadline, which is something that did not happen under the former administration.

Simmons released the following statement regarding the 2011-12 budget:

“We made history with this budget.  This is only the third time in nearly 40 years the Commonwealth will be spending less money than the previous year.  That said, House Republicans were still able to restore some of the education cuts first proposed by the governor. Education funding was increased by $310 million, with the appropriation for our public universities set at around 80 percent of the current allocation rather than 50 percent.

“There has been much debate about using some of the state’s $700 million ‘surplus’ to further fund education and other programs.  I agree with the decision to stand firm and keep much of that funding in reserve.  Pennsylvania still has billions in outstanding debt and other liabilities.  During these uncertain economic times, holding on to that funding, rather than spending it, is the fiscally prudent thing to do.

“This budget isn’t perfect, and it does come with some pain, but I believe it sets the right course for brighter economic days ahead.  State spending has been out of control, increasing by $8 billion over the last eight years.  This budget starts to bring that spending under control by making certain the Commonwealth is living within its means.”

State Representative Justin Simmons
131st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives