Allegheny County, PA – May 28, 2020 – Pennsylvania State Senator Pam Iovino (D – Allegheny & Washington), released the following statement today after voting to support the passage of a $26 billion interim budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including $2.6 billion in federal CARES Act funds.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s significant yet still unknown impact on our state budget, the General Assembly chose to pass a partial, five-month budget to ensure continuity of government and services. The budget that we passed, and which I voted in favor of, provides the same levels of funding to government programs as last year for the next five months, and funds education for a full year to provide additional stability for this critical sector.

“This is the most prudent and responsible path forward, providing some interim financial certainty while also allowing more time to assess our Commonwealth’s fiscal landscape and to determine what additional federal funds will be made available to states for general budgetary purposes.

“I was elected to make difficult decisions that benefit the working families and businesses of the 37th Senatorial District, and I believe this partial-year budget, while not completely satisfactory, achieves that goal in these unprecedented times.

“We also appropriated $2.6 billion of Pennsylvania’s $3.9 billion in federal CARES Act funds. I am especially pleased that a number of my priorities will receive emergency funding under this plan, such as: $722 million for health and human services, including testing and protective equipment for nursing homes; $245 million for small businesses; $125 million for childcare and early education; $150 million for COVID-related school safety; $50 million in hazard pay for front-line workers; $100 million for Emergency Medical Services and emergency management; and $72 million for higher education, including student loan relief. 

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, my focus over the next five months will be to evaluate all available options that best support families, businesses, and our communities who bore the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impact, and to protect funding for education, healthcare, and economic recovery.”

The General Appropriations bill, House Bill 2387, passed the Pennsylvania State Senate with broad, bipartisan support (44-6). The legislation is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.