Helping Communities Who Are On the Frontlines: 2023-24 Budget Increases Funding for Municipal Assistance Program by More than 250 Percent
HARRISBURG, Aug. 23 – The bipartisan, commonsense budget Governor Shapiro signed earlier this month makes historic investments in communities across the Commonwealth, from funding universal free breakfast for Pennsylvania students, to supporting historically disadvantaged businesses, to creating opportunities for communities to support one another. The budget invests $2 million in the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP) which provides financial assistance for communities to comprehensively plan around community revitalization efforts, improvement processes, and sound management of development activities
In March, Governor Shapiro proposed a $1.5 million increase – nearly 266 percent – for funding available in the MAP to help local governments plan for and effectively implement a variety of services, improvements, and soundly managed development. As the Governor said in his inaugural address, “Rather than having the state come in and take over [local government] operations, how about we help these smaller communities band together, share resources, and share know-how. […] This budget invests in the Municipal Assistance Program to help our communities support themselves.”
The final budget includes the Governor’s proposed increase.
The MAP is operated by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to support local governments implement services including shared-service activities such as regionalization, consolidation or merging of services, shared personnel, high-impact projects that serve multiple municipalities, and boundary change efforts.
“Growing local economies, driving innovation, and advancing opportunities for every Pennsylvanian are common themes in the 2023-24 budget, and the Department of Community and Economic Development is thrilled to strengthen our abilities to support local governments thanks to the increased funding secured by Governor Shapiro,” said DCED Secretary Rick Siger. “The Municipal Assistance Program provides more support for municipalities and allows DCED to work with more communities across the Commonwealth while alleviating the burden on local governments to provide critical community services to taxpayers.”
In an editorial about the increased funding, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote, “Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first budget has included a 266% increase in funding to the Municipal Assistance Program. […] This is an area for both sides to come together to consider honestly and practically — and not just because it could be a way to save money and get things done at the local level. It would also be a way to promote different arenas of government putting aside their jealousies and defenses to work toward a mutual goal. In other words, they could act for the common wealth.”
Read what local community leaders across Pennsylvania are saying about the increase in the MAP:
Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Municipal League John Brenner: “One of the answers is [for local governments] to get together with their neighbors to help taxpayers afford those services. The great thing about this [program] is the state is encouraging the conversation.”
Representative Bob Freeman: “[The MAP increase] is a very promising start … for the state to step up to the plate and provide more support for municipalities.”
Dickson City Borough Manager Cesare Forconi: “As Manager of the Borough of Dickson City I am always looking for ways for the Borough to be more efficient both financially and in the time, it takes for us to accomplish tasks. I was excited to see additional funding added to help the Borough accomplish both. It is a pleasure to see that Governor Shapiro’s office has hit the ground running and is offering non-partisan assistance to Boroughs like ours so we can better serve our residents. The Shapiro Administration has my full support – and lets all work together to keep Pennsylvania moving forward.”
Beaver Falls Mayor Dr. Kenya Johns: “This historical budget leaves a clear message to us throughout the Commonwealth that our voices matter to this administration and we are being heard. There are so many things in this budget that has the potential to really make a difference in a community like ours, especially the Municipal Assistance Program. The Municipal Assistance Program gives a community like mine an opportunity to reinvest back into itself and make the whole neighborhood a better place.”