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Pa. State Budget Proposal Highlights

Gov. Wolf

Governor Wolf unveiled his 2020-21 General Fund budget during his annual address to the legislature, proposing to spend $36.06 billion, an increase of 4.22 percent.

The governor urged the legislature to tackle gun violence, student debt, and toxic schools. The proposed budget items targeting lead and asbestos in schools, day cares, homes and public water systems would total more than $1.1 billion in funding for remediation.

Highlights of the governor’s Budget in Brief include:

Investing in our children 

  • Proposes an expansion of universal, free, full-day kindergarten for all Pennsylvania students.
  • Continues Governor Wolf’s commitment to investing in education at all levels, including a $25 million increase for Pre-K Counts, a $5 million increase for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, a $100 million increase in basic education and a $25 million increase in special education.
  • Includes a $15.3 million increase in federal funds to create a more stable business environment for childcare facilities and to ensure equal access to these services.
  • Invests in our state’s early intervention programs by increasing county administrative allocations by $2.5 million for birth to age 3 services and providing an $11 million increase to fund an additional 2,000 slots for children ages 3 to 5.
  • Proposes Charter School Law reform.
  • Repurposes $204 million from the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development Trust Fund to support the Nellie Bly Tuition Program, which will provide financial assistance to full-time PASSHE students who agree to stay in Pennsylvania for the same number of years for which they receive the benefit.
  • Proposes a total of $60 million in new funding for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program through PHEAA.
  • Proposes $12.9 million to support a system redesign and shared IT infrastructure initiative for all PASSHE universities.
  • Implements lead and asbestos testing and remediation through the federal Health Services Initiative, PENNVEST funding and expansion of RACP-eligible projects

Building the nation’s strongest workforce

  • Provides $12 million in grant funding to implement recommendations brought forth by the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to assist workers in overcoming barriers such as transportation, childcare, training, licensure and community re-entry.
  • Invests $14.8 million in federal dollars into the Department of Human Services redesign of its employment and training programs to meet the needs of individuals and families working toward career pathways and family-sustaining wages.
  • Invests $23.4 million in federal funding for TANF recipients to address the benefits cliff by creating a work expense deduction that will pave a pathway for Pennsylvania families to work toward self-sufficiency.
  • Proposes combined reporting and to reduce the Corporate Net Income Tax from 9.99 to 8.99 percent on January 1, 2021, and then incrementally to 5.99 percent by 2025.
  • Increases teacher salaries to a minimum of $45,000/year.
  • Proposes increasing the minimum wage to $12/hour for all Pennsylvania workers, with a path to $15/hour by 2026.
  • Invests more than $20 million in new manufacturing and technology jobs, works to attract new innovative businesses and provides job training opportunities throughout Pennsylvania.

Keeping Pennsylvanians safe

  • Commits $6 million in additional funds to reduce and prevent gun violence throughout Pennsylvania.
  • Proposes an additional $4 million for Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Task Force.
  • Assesses a fairer police service fee to all communities benefiting from police services provided by the Pennsylvania State Police.

Protecting our most vulnerable

  • Invests $1.4 million for adults living in long-term care facilities who require ventilator care.
  • Provides $1 million to expand legal services to low-income individuals and families.
  • Commits $1.2 million in new dollars to establish a training program for direct care workers in the Participant Directed Model to support individuals with physical disabilities living in the community.
  • Invests $4 million more to counties for risk management to support individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or autism.
  • Proposes $5.1 million additional dollars to fund staff within the Department of Human Services to implement changes in law, regulations, and licensing as recommended by the Council on Reform.
  • Proposes $1.25 million for 20 Community Hospital Integration Projects Program discharges to reduce state hospital populations.
  • Proposes $8.1 million in new funding to provide services to 1,700 seniors on the OPTIONS in-home services waiting list.
  • Invests $1.3 million in the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program so that children who have been victims of abuse or neglect have an advocate to share their voice in court proceedings.
  • A combined $2.4 million is proposed for evidence-based and evidence-informed home visiting that will support at-risk families.
  • Invests $1 million in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System, which addresses food insecurity and ensures more Pennsylvanians have access to healthy meals for their families.

Environmental protection, restoration and job creation

  • Invests $2.5 million in the Department of Environmental Protection to support several core initiatives, including implementation of the Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan and support for the Bureau of Air Quality.
  • Proposes $2.5 million for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to hire additional state park and forest rangers.
  • Calls for legislative action on a $1 per ton increase to the tipping fee on municipal waste landfill deposits to generate an additional $22.6 million and maintain solvency of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

The governor continues advocating to fund Pennsylvania’s critical infrastructure needs with Restore Pennsylvania. First unveiled last year, the plan funds broadband, flooding, and other critical infrastructure projects.

The House Appropriations and Senate Appropriations budget hearings start on Feb. 18. 

The House and Senate Republicans provide their perspectives on the governor’s proposal.


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