The 2022-23 state budget approved by the House this week makes important investments in agriculture and water quality, while simultaneously tackling needed reforms in election policies and lowering the Corporate Net Income Tax rate, according to Rep. John Hershey (R-Mifflin/Juniata/Franklin).
In the $42.8 billion budget going to the Senate for a concurrence vote and then the governor’s desk, agriculture initiatives supporting Pennsylvania’s leading industry would receive an almost 800% increase to combat new threats from disease and invasive pests. Plans are also in the works to develop an Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program to help conservation districts preserve farmland using federal stimulus dollars.
“This budget does great things for our ag community,” said Hershey, who helped to craft the budget proposal through his role on the House Appropriations Committee. “Agriculture always has been – and will continue to be – the backbone of the Juniata Valley.”
Hershey worked into the budget a proposal to allocate $250 million in federal relief funds to support initiatives that will reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in fresh water. This initiative includes assistance for farmers who want to decrease runoff along stream banks.
“I’ve spent months in conversations with my fellow lawmakers about why federal stimulus dollars must be spent on relief for our farmers struggling under onerous Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations,” Hershey said.
The budget sets aside $2.1 billion for the Rainy Day Fund, which helps the Commonwealth maintain programs and operations during economic downturns. It lowers the Corporate Net Income Tax rate by a full percentage point to 8.99% and to 4.99% by 2031.
The House separately passed a measure to put forward two constitutional amendments – one would require identification to be shown by voters at the polls and the other would require independent election audits by Auditor General.
The overall budget links state and federal dollars to fix roads and bridges, provide tax relief to small businesses, pay off debts, hire 200 additional Pennsylvania State Police troopers, create a child care tax credit, and enhance the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.
Hershey also said he is pleased the budget increases both basic education funding for public schools by $525 million and expands the educational improvement tax credit to give families more education choices and opportunities. Both proposals benefit every school district in the 82nd District.
Representative John Hershey
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch