HARRISBURG – The state Senate today approved a bipartisan $27.656 billion General Fund budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, by a 39-8 vote, which reaffirms a commitment to education, as well as social and health services for Pennsylvanian’s with physical and mental disabilities, according to State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming).
Senate Bill 1466, the General Appropriations Act of 2012, approved by the Senate and sent to the House for concurrence, is below the threshold that the Commonwealth could spend under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) formula, which is tied to inflation and population growth. Under the TABOR formula, Pennsylvania’s spending for FY 2012-13 could be $27.740 billion. Total General Fund spending proposed in Senate Bill 1466 is $84.599 million under TABOR.
“This budget proposal, as passed by the Senate today, reflects a commitment to fiscal constraint,” said Yaw. “We were able to balance the budget while restoring many important line items.”
Senate Bill 1466 maintains state support for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities, State System of Higher Education schools and community colleges at their current levels. The bill also adds more than $132 million in support for basic education, Accountability Block Grants and early childhood education programs over the February proposal.
The proposal also reduces by half (from $38 million to $19 million) the Governor’s plan to transfer from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93) to the General Fund.
“I am pleased that we were able to keep funding intact for the Keystone Fund,” Yaw said. “This program has supported thousands of community park, trails and conservation programs in my district and throughout the state.”
The bill also restores $20 million ($10 million state/$10 million federal) in funding for vital community mental retardation and intellectual disability programs that assist thousands of Pennsylvanians and families on a daily basis. The bill restores $84 million in funding for various programs that would be bundled under the Governor’s proposed Human Services Development Block Grant.
Senate Bill 1466 used the Independent Fiscal Office’s May 1st projected revenue shortfall of $299 million for FY 2011-12. The Governor’s budget request from February 7th projected a current year revenue shortfall of $719 million.
Contact: Rita Zielonis