– Following approval of the state budget, Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Altoona), who voted against the spending plan, issued this statement:
“Children who attend Altoona Area School District will miss out on educational opportunities after an untold amount of money was slashed in the budget approved by House Democrats. The budget cuts 55% from the Level Up fund, which earmarks additional education dollars for districts that were traditionally underfunded. Defunding students who have already been missing out on adequate dollars only sets them back even further and does nothing to give them the best education they deserve.
“While the budget slashes funding to schools, it increases overall spending at the unsustainable rate of 6%. This sets all Pennsylvanians up for tax hikes in the years to come, making it harder for all families to thrive. The budget also siphons money from strategic reserves to plug budget holes today and does nothing to address the deficit we all will be paying for in years to come.
“The only silver lining of this budget is that funding for victims of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, has been restored to $1.5 million. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I fought hard to stop a proposal by Gov. Josh Shapiro to cut funding by 40%. I thank the governor for recognizing the error and applaud his willingness to restore funding to last year’s level.
“As we move forward, I will continue to advocate for the residents of Blair County, especially the children impacted by the cut in Level Up funding, so that we can all prosper.”