Ciresi Believes Budget Could Have Helped Far More

HARRISBURG PA – Inclusion of $4.8 million for local schools and organizations in the just-passed Pennsylvania budget pleases 146th District State Rep. Joe Ciresi (at top), who represents all or parts of Limerick, Lower Pottsgrove, Perkiomen, Pottstown, Royersford, and Trappe. He’s convinced, though, that the Legislature nonetheless missed “an unprecedented opportunity” to use the budget for even greater good.

Ciresi was in the minority Friday night (June 25, 2021) as he voted no on the state budget, because he believed “it failed to adequately use” the state revenue surplus and the one-time American Rescue Plan federal funds available this fiscal year. Nearly $10 billion in that funding was ready to meet immediate needs, but most of it was saved for future needs rather than be allocated now.

Gov. Tom Wolf plans to sign the budget into law this week, according to The Associated Press.

Ciresi reported it includes money for the:

  • Pottstown School District, $2.5 million ($1.7 million in state; $853,499 in federal);
  • Spring-Ford School District, $977,540 ($638,765 state; $338,775 federal);
  • Pottsgrove School District, $693,660 ($354,051 state; $339,609 federal);
  • Perkiomen Valley School District: $565,245 ($425,999 state; $139,246 federal); as well as for the
  • Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center, $379,189;
  • Pottstown Public Library, $12,791; and
  • Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, $902,474.

Ciresi advocated for a plan to fully implement the state’s fair funding formula alongside increases in state funding, which would have yielded almost $20 million in recurring state funds to the 146th District, compared to more than $3 million in the state budget when excluding one-time federal funds.

“We could have prioritized fair funding for education, infrastructure and school remediation, small business relief, property tax relief, and investment in job creation,” Ciresi lamented. “This budget, unfortunately, delivers basically none of that by hoarding money intended by the federal government to be used for recovery and stimulus. Nothing gets stimulated, not a single job will be created, and not a single infrastructure project will be helped by packing the money away for a so-called rainy day.”

“I appreciate the difficulty, or the impossibility, in pleasing everyone with the state budget, but I really feel there were too many missed opportunities in this spending plan, including zero new dollars for small business assistance,” Ciresi said. “We balked on a chance to close the opportunity and funding gaps for school districts in economically disadvantaged communities, such as Pottstown.”

“We should have done better. Just know that I will continue working tirelessly for students, for infrastructure and transit, for health care and reduced property tax burdens.”

Photo supplied by Rep. Ciresi’s office