Senator Pat Browne was again elected by his colleagues in the Senate Republican Caucus to serve as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman for the 2017-18 Legislative Session. The committee, one of the most powerful of the Senate’s standing committees, reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget.
Before being elected Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Browne served as Senate Majority Whip for the 2011-12 and 2013-14 Legislative Sessions. Besides serving as Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Browne is also a member of four Senate Committees: Education; Finance; Health & Human Services; and Local Government. He is also a member of the Senate Majority Policy Committee.
Senator Browne is Co-Chair of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Early Childhood Education Caucus and the Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus. He is also Co-Chair of the PA Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee (PlanCon) and had previously Co-Chaired both the Basic Education Funding Commission and the Special Education Funding Commission.
He also serves as a member of the board of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Legislative Audit Advisory Committee.
Senator Browne was re-elected in November 2014 to his third full term as state Senator for the 16th District, representing constituents in parts of Lehigh County. He was first elected to the Senate following a special election in April of 2005 and was re-elected in the fall of 2006 and 2010. Prior to joining the Senate, Senator Browne represented the 131st District for 10 years as a member of the state House of Representatives.
Senator Browne is the author of dozens of initiatives ranging from child protection to job creation to education to reforming state government. He wrote several laws which fundamentally reformed Pennsylvania’s public pension systems and created an independent fiscal office to monitor state spending and the budget process. He rewrote both the Pennsylvania Basic Education and Special Education funding formulas. In addition, Senator Browne is the Founding Chairman of the Early Childhood Education Caucus and the Arts and Culture Caucus. Senator Browne has received national recognition for his Early Childhood advocacy and is widely acknowledged to be Pennsylvania’s key proponent. Senator Browne also authored a law to hire citizens with disabilities.
In 2009, Senator Browne crafted the one-of-a-kind, 130-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) to help revitalize and expand the tax base of the then financially-struggling city of Allentown. There has already been more than $1 billion of new development investment in Allentown and more than $3 million in annual school property tax revenues for Allentown School District generated through the zone. The NIZ has already served as a model for economic development in other distressed areas – cities, boroughs and townships – throughout the Commonwealth with the creation of the City Revitalization and Improvement Zones (CRIZ) which will afford a similar tax financing program to smaller cities in Pennsylvania.
Senator Browne received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Temple University. Prior to his legislative service, he was employed with the accounting firms of Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse as a tax manager and senior tax associate, respectively. In addition to being a CPA, he is also a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Born and raised in Allentown, Senator Browne attended Allentown Central Catholic High School. He resides in Allentown with his wife, Heather, and son, Alex.