February 6, 2024 − Sen. Nick Miller (D-Lehigh/Northampton) today acknowledged the investments Gov. Josh Shapiro is suggesting for the commonwealth, especially in education, public safety and economic development, in his 2024-2025 budget address. Shapiro announced there would be no tax increases over the next five years.
“Being a lifelong resident of Allentown, I have seen firsthand the results of investing in our economy,” added Miller. “PA Sites will provide grant funding for businesses to relocate or expand in Pennsylvania, while PA Innovation will go toward entrepreneurs and additional funding for Main Street Matters program, which supports revitalization efforts.”
There will also be funding for the creation of a veteran’s outreach program. “We must continue to support our troops, especially after they become veterans,” said Miller. “
Miller, who will soon introduce legislation on increasing funding for cybersecurity, said Shapiro’s support of the Unified Judicial System Cybersecurity and Disaster Recovery program, as well as a pilot project on artificial intelligence, will help lead the commonwealth into both security and the latest technology.
Miller served on the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission and commended Shapiro’s proposed financing of education for being in line with what the BEFC recommended.
“One of my top priorities as a BEFC member was making sure our education facilities are repaired. So many of our students and staff are subjected to toxic schools, which are not adequate vessels to learn and work,” said Miller. “The governor’s budget suggests $480 million to repair school buildings, create safe learning environments and focus on students’ mental health and wellness, which I endorse.”
The budget also provides funding for student-teacher stipends, if the student-teachers agree to remain in the commonwealth and teach for three years following graduation.
“Like many areas across the country, Pennsylvania is facing a critical teacher shortage,” added Miller. “By providing incentives like the stipend, we will be recruiting and retaining talented professionals to educate our public-school students.”
Miller also applauded investments in Pre-K programs, basic education funding, school safety and security and higher education.
Additionally, a dedication of $8 million increase in workforce development will allow even more Pennsylvania residents to build their skillsets and seek job opportunities.
There will be more funding that will benefit the Lehigh Valley, including investments in statewide mass transit.
“Many of our residents rely on the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) to get to work or school,” said Miller. “There’s an increase in the existing amount transferred into the mass transit fund from existing sales and use tax revenues, which I have been advocating for and will allow for expanded services and routes for LANTA riders.”
Miller has long supported economic development, especially introducing an Innovation District and Main Street Program in Allentown.
“We want our residents to feel safe living, working and visiting the Lehigh Valley,” said Miller. “By investing in violence intervention and prevention, we are being proactive, instead of reactive. More funding for the Pennsylvania State Police will lead to stronger protection of our community members.”