Harrisburg – The state Senate today passed a 2015-16 state budget that boosts education funding by $370 million and funds essential state services without raising taxes, said Senator Pat Stefano (R-32), who supported the spending plan and urged Governor Wolf to sign it.
The plan, House Bill 1192, was passed in advance of the June 30 constitutional deadline to enact a state budget. It also includes fundamental changes to the state’s pension and liquor systems.
“This is a realistic plan, a fiscally responsible plan that enables the Commonwealth to live within its means,” Stefano said. “What Pennsylvanians cannot afford is increased taxes, higher energy costs and skyrocketing pension costs that will drive up property taxes and take more dollars away from classrooms.”
The budget contains:
- No new taxes or tax increases.
- $100 million new state dollars for basic education that is combined with reforms to the basic education funding formula and improvements in accountability.
- $20 million more for special education.
- $30 million more for early education, including Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
- $300 million in savings for the state and school districts to pay for capital improvements.
- $50 million more across the board for higher education.
- $10 million more to increase home and community-based services for 1,075 individuals with intellectual disabilities – 1,000 on the waiting list and 75 from institutions.
- $27 million in additional funding to expand the number of individuals served through the Home and Community-Based Services (3,750), Services to Persons with Disabilities (1,100) and Attendant Care programs (660).
The budget includes savings that will be realized by privatizing the sale of wine and liquor, and by reforming the state pension systems. Pension costs are the number one cause of property tax hikes and school cutbacks.
Stefano urged the Governor to sign the budget as soon as possible to ensure that programs and services are not interrupted and to keep Pennsylvania’s economy moving forward.
“Lawmakers and state residents have soundly rejected the governor’s call for massive tax and spending hikes,” Stefano said. “I am hopeful that the governor will remember what it’s like to run a business that employs people and abandon his desire to dramatically increase the size, scope and expense of state government.”
CONTACT: Ben Wren (717) 787-7175