PA House & Senate Appropriations Hearings Kick Off: DCED Testifies


Today, both the Pennsylvania House and Senate hosted their first appropriations hearings on the 2024/25 budget proposal.

These public hearings are some of the final steps of the budget process in Pennsylvania. They allow lawmakers to dissect the budget line by line as department heads answer questions on their department's proposals.

The House kicked off its appropriations hearings by examining the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Governor Shapiro has touted a state wide economic development plan, which was discussed in more depth in today's hearing.

Secretary Rick Siger emphasized the importance of regional customizability when creating the plan.

“This is an extremely diverse state. And the things that work well in Erie might now well in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, or Schuylkill county or anywhere in between," said Siger. "In the budget, we have tried to create capabilities that are custom, that can help localities, help regions, build the plan they want to build. And have the state work alongside them to drive that strategy forward.”

Elected official's questions ranged from observations of the economic plan- like limited goal setting for renewable energy- to asking how federal funds for broadband are being distributed.

Representatives also examined how funds for current programs move to new initiatives in the proposal. Example: Main St. Matters, a new initiative, replaces and expands the current program Keystone Communities.

“Number one? Make sure the infrastructure of the main street is strong, whether its sidewalks, or lighting, facade improvements, you name it," said Governor Josh Shapiro at a press event today in Lemoyne, PA. "But we want the communities to come up with that and tell us what they need and we want to fund it.”

The Governor has been promoting the initiative across the state since his February 6th budget address.

One of the most substantial updates to the DCED in the current proposal is a $500 million bond to support the program PA Sites. Representatives today questioned if investing in the goal of the program-- to have real estate locations ready for businesses looking to settle in the state-- was worthwhile if other economic climates and policies were not inviting.

The Senate will be meeting with the DCED tomorrow.

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