The Senate today approved a Fiscal Year 2019-20 spending plan that includes no tax increases, makes a substantial investment in the state Rainy Day Fund, and provides more money for road and bridge improvements, according to Senator Joe Pittman. Audio
House Bill 790 now goes to the Governor for enactment into law.
Final revenues for Fiscal Year 2018-19, which ends on June 30, 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 dip in the economy, a move strongly supported by Senator Pittman.
“Through prudent spending and responsible fiscal management, we will end the year with a substantial revenue surplus,” Senator Pittman said. “That conservative approach works, so I don’t see any reason to change. It would be easy to spend that money, but we have to be very wise in how we use it. I prefer that we prepare for the next ‘rainy day’ that will inevitably occur.” Video Audio
Senator Pittman also lauded a move within the budget that freed up $32 million in transportation funds that were previously used to fund State Police operations. This is part of a multi-year effort to reduce the amount of transportation revenue that is used fund State Police operations.
“Through this effort, PENNDOT will have more money available for road and bridge improvement projects,” Senator Pittman said. “We have made significant strides in improving our roadways since the enactment of Act 89 of 2013, but there is much work that needs to be done and this funding shift will support that effort.”
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, HeadStart 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, including Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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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