The Senate today approved a Fiscal Year 2019-20 spending plan that includes no tax increases, funds essential services, promotes workforce development, bolsters education at all levels and makes a substantial investment in the state Rainy Day Fund, according to Senator Mario Scavello (R-40).
“After several years of embracing conservative budgeting, today we find ourselves on strong financial footing,” said Scavello. “An on-time budget with responsible spending is an example of how government can deliver services on behalf of our taxpayers and Pennsylvanians in need.” “This budget delivers funding that works for all residents of Pennsylvania.”
House Bill 790, which spends nearly $34 billion – a 1.8 percent increase over the current fiscal year, now goes to the Governor for enactment into law.
Revenues for Fiscal Year 2018-19 are anticipated to be $865 million over projections, with an ending balance of about $300 million. All of that money will go into the Rainy Day Fund, which covers financial shortfalls in the event of a downturn in the economy.
The budget increases state support for all levels of education. Basic Education funding is increased by $160 million and special education will see a $50 million increase.
HB 790 increases spending to support early education with Pre-K spending increasing by $25 million, Head Start receiving a $5 million increase, and Early Intervention services receiving a $15 million increase.
Higher education institutions will also benefit from this budget with an across-the-board 2 percent increase in funding for community colleges, state-related universities (Pitt, Penn State. Temple and Lincoln) and the State System of Higher Education.
The budget continues Senate Republicans’ ongoing efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s students and school staff by restoring the Governor’s $15 million cut to the Safe Schools program administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (back to $60 million) and increases the Safe School initiative under the Department of Education by $1 million to a total of $11 million.
The budget promotes workforce development and job training initiatives by:
- Increasing funding for Career and Technical Education by 7.6 percent ($7 million) from $92 million to $99 million.
- Increasing funding for Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants by 117.6 percent ($3 million) from $2.5 million to $5.5 million.
- Increasing funding for the Pennsylvania College of Technology by 17.6 percent ($4 million) from $22.7 million to $26.7 million.
- Increasing funding for Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology by 27.2 percent ($4 million) from $14.7 million to $18.7 million.
- Increasing funding for New Choices/New Options by 50 percent ($250,000) from $500,000 to $750,000.
HB 790 maintains Senate Republicans’ commitment to Pennsylvania’s farmers by restoring all of the Governor’s proposed cuts and increases the overall appropriation to the Department of Agriculture by 13 percent to $19.5 million. This additional money includes:
- Two percent increases for Ag Research/Ag Extension and the University of Pennsylvania School for Veterinary Medicine.
- New funding – Agricultural Business & Workforce Investment, $4.5 million; Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission (supplementing funding from the Race Horse Development Fund), $2 million; and, Livestock and Consumer Health Protection, $1 million.
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