The Senate today (November 20) gave final approval to a supplemental spending bill — completing the state budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 — and sent the measure to the Governor’s desk, according to Senator Joe Pittman.
Passage of Senate Bill 1350 finalizes the state spending plan for the current fiscal year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) that was initiated with the enactment of a five-month interim budget (Act 1A – House Bill 2387) on May 29.
Overcoming the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania’s economy, the final $35.5 billion FY 2020-21 budget is balanced without the need for tax or fee increases or debt using a combination of current state revenues and resources and federal stimulus funding.
“This budget is the result of a serious review of Pennsylvania’s economic condition now and the projections of how we expect to fare over the next seven months. Fortunately, the state is somewhat better off now financially than what we anticipated in May,” Senator Pittman said. “This budget makes significant cuts in state bureaucracy that translates into nearly a 10 percent reduction in funding for state departmental operations across the board. At the same time, we have maintained funding for almost every state service and program and our schools at the same level as last year without tax increases or increased debt.”
While the interim spending plan approved in May provided five months of funding for most state services and programs, it made a full-year financial commitment for education at all levels and for a variety of food security programs. Funding for basic education, special education, early education and higher education is maintained in the final spending plan at the same level as Fiscal Year 2019-20.
Spending in the final Fiscal Year 2020-21 state budget includes General Fund appropriations of $32.1 billion and an additional $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funds ($2.1 billion Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) and $1.3 billion federal CARES funds).
After adjusting for supplemental spending that should have been in FY 2019-20, overall state spending in the final FY 2020-21 budget — including federal stimulus funds — is down more than $760 million (2.1 percent) from FY 2019-20.
The final budget includes $200 million to provide school property tax relief to replace the revenues those districts lost by the closure of Pennsylvania’s casinos during the pandemic shutdown.
“I am pleased that this budget continues our efforts to reduce the diversion of money from the state’s Motor License Fund (MLF) – which supports highway and bridge improvement efforts – to fund the State Police,” Senator Pittman said. “It is important to use the MLF for its intended purpose — to improve the condition and safety of our highways and bridges.”
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