HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate today approved a state budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 that invests in education, public safety and provides support for essential social and health services and programs without a tax increase, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
The $29.09 billion budget plan in House Bill 2328 provides a $502.3 million increase (1.7 percent) over the 2013-14 fiscal year budget, increases overall K-12 education spending over the previous budget and funds the core functions of government without raising taxes. The final budget is $320.1 million less than the Governor’s initial request in February.
Of the $502.3 million increase, $316 million would be directed toward education. This includes increases for special education ($20 million increase), Ready to Learn Block Grants ($100 million increase), Pre-K Counts ($10 million increase) and Early Intervention ($10 million increase). The Fiscal Year 2014-15 general fund budget represents the fourth budget in a row to set a new record for total state tax dollars spent on education.
House Bill 2328 allocates $11.4 million to train four new state police cadet classes to replenish the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police and address a substantial number of vacancies created by a surge in retirements.
Important to the 23rd Senate District, the plan also makes investments in Heritage and other parks, Veterans Outreach Services, as well as sustains funding of the Career and Technical Education Equipment grant program within the Department of Education.
The spending plan will protect Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens by increasing funding for services for persons with disabilities, domestic violence programs and rape crisis centers.
Agriculture, which is Pennsylvania’s top industry, will see a 2.5 percent increase in funding. Funding for agriculture research, promotion, exports, the Livestock Show, the Open Dairy Show, Food Marketing and Research, and PA Preferred are all restored after being cut in the Governor’s initial budget request.
House Bill 2328 now returns to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote. If approved, the bill then moves to the Governor for his consideration.