The Senate will carefully study the $36.1 billion state General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 unveiled by Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday (February 4) before a joint session of the General Assembly, according to Senator Dave Arnold (R-48).
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $1.5 billion (4.2 percent) increase in state spending from the current fiscal year. The Governor is not requesting a broad-based tax increase this year, but is continuing to push for a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, a $1 per-ton increase in the tipping fee charged to trash companies, and a fee for all municipalities for State Police services.
“Today, Governor Wolf proposed an additional $1.5 billion in new spending and more than $1 billion in new borrowing”. Arnold said, “Pennsylvanians deserve a state budget that is responsible and sustainable. We are deeply troubled by the impact of the proposed cuts to agriculture, school safety and regional cancer centers. Additionally, Governor Wolf’s plan for a $15 minimum wage is not feasible as it will result in a sharp reduction in job opportunities for lower-skilled workers. We are optimistic that we can work with Governor Wolf and we welcome his cooperation.”
The Governor is requesting a $100 million increase in Basic Education Funding to $6.4 billion, a $30 million increase for early childhood education (Pre-K Counts to $242.3 million and Head Start to $69.2 million), and a $25 million increase in special education funding to $1.2 billion.
The State System of Higher Education would see a $13 million increase to $490 million, while state funding for community colleges and state-related universities is flat-funded in the Governor’s request.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a three-week series of departmental budget hearings beginning on February 18. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Appropriations Committee to hear cabinet secretaries and other Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The state’s current fiscal year ends on June 30.
Contact: Greg Moreland, Chief of Staff, 717-787-1457