Senator Stefano E-Newsletter

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Pennsylvania Budget Passes


The 2019-20 state budget builds on the success of Senate Republicans over the past 10 years in managing taxpayer dollars wisely.  As a result, this budget meets all of the core responsibilities of state government with no new taxes.  The fiscally responsible budgets and policies we have enacted have helped the state beat revenue projections by $865 million this year; while this is certainly encouraging, lawmakers have a responsibility to continue to ensure these funds are allocated responsibly.

This budget was passed without a tax increase and increases spending by just 1.8% over last year’s spending.

Some higlights in this year’s budget:

  • Another year of record support for Basic Education which saw an increase of $160 Million.
  • $25 Million more for Pre-K, 5 Million more for HeadStart and $15 Million more for Early Intervention. Spending dollars early in a child’s development will yield better results in the future
  • $300 Million dollar deposit into the rainy day fund to prepare for future budgetary struggles.
  • Critical support for PA’s number 1 industry, Agriculture.

Hear from me in the video above on how we do just that in this year’s budget.

PA Budget Invests in Agriculture

Stefano Agriculture

Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farm families manage more than 7.7 million acres of farmland, and the agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually.  In February, Governor Wolf proposed a $4 million cut to critical programs in the Department of Agriculture.  Senate Republicans not only worked to restore these cuts, but also boosted funding for agriculture by more than $19 million.  In the above video, hear me talk about which programs this budget highlights.

Funding What Works

6/27/19 – Senate Republicans: Funding What Works

For more than a decade, Senate Republicans have led the charge to restrain the growth of state spending and avoid painful tax increases.  During that time, Senate Republicans have helped trim more than $4 billion from budgets proposed by the Governor, holding spending increases below the rate of inflation.  In this video, you will hear from me and my colleagues on how the FY 2019-20 Budget funds the programs that work for you.  Taken together, these investments will help Pennsylvanians reach their fullest potential.

The 2019-2020 Budget Helps Those Experiencing Difficult Times:

  • 10% increased funding for Domestic Violence $19.1 million ($1.7 million increase).
  • 10% increased funding for Rape Crisis $10.9 million ($1.0 million increase).
  • $1.3 billion (an increase of $34.0 million) for the County Child Welfare.
  • Provides $15 million funds to allow an additional 970 infants and toddlers to be served off the child care wait list.
  • Provides for $10.0 million for growth in the Child Care STAR 2, 3, and 4 programs and an estimated 28% increase for infants, young toddlers, and older toddlers.
  • Provides an additional $5.000 million in state funds to expand evidence-based home visiting services to an additional 800 families.
  • $26.2 million in General Funds to serve an additional 1,860 older Pennsylvanians through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Aging Waiver.
  • $10.9 million to serve 840 additional individuals with physical disabilities in the Attendant Care Waiver.
  • $23.0 million to serve 1,380 additional individuals with physical disabilities in the Services to Persons with Disabilities Waivers.
  • Adds $8 million to assist high Medicaid populated nursing homes.
  • Provides a 2% rate increase for Home care workers/personal care assistants.
  • 20% increased funding for Services for the Visually Disabled.
  • $0.8 million for increased inspections and licensing of personal care homes and assisted living residences.
  • $1.8 million for increased inspections and licensing of residential and day-treatment programs that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • $3.5 million in General Funds to serve an additional 300 individuals through the long-term care LIFE program.
  • $2.8 million to provide home and community-based services for 45 individuals with mental health issues currently residing in state hospitals.
  • $15.0 million for community-based services for 100 individuals on the Intellectual Disabilities emergency waiting list into the Consolidated Waiver and 765 individuals on the Intellectual Disabilities emergency waiting list into the Community Living Waiver.
  • $5.0 million in the Early Intervention appropriation to provide a three percent increase in service rates.

Following the Rules

You may have heard about the chaos on the Senate floor when Lt Governor Fetterman and Senate Democrats chose to ignore the rules of the Senate and in doing so shred our constitution to enact their far left agenda.  I wanted to take a few minutes to explain what actually happened and why we voted to eliminate General Cash Assistance, a program fraught with waste, fraud and abuse.

Finally, I also wanted to explain how this budget helps those in need by Funding What Works to bring people out of poverty.

I encourage you to learn more at and 

6/27/19 – Senate Republicans: Funding What Works

Taking Steps to Secure Our Elections

Stefano Election Reform

This year, the Senate has taken up a number of bills aimed at reforming our elections process in order to ensure fair elections in the Commonwealth.  My contribution to this process has been Senate Bill 418, which helps save counties money by reducing the number of ballots needed to be printed for each election.  It passed the Senate by a 31-19 vote. My bill was then included into SB 48 which would provide funding to counties for the purchase of new voting machines which the Governor unilaterally mandated. The bill also eliminated straight party voting and made changes to the absentee ballot process. Unfortunately Governor Wolf ignored the needs of counties and vetoed this critical bill.   Hear more about our efforts in the video above.

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