HARRISBURG — The State Senate voted today to restore funding to a number of programs that were vetoed by Governor Wolf in December, including critical funds for education, agriculture and rural hospitals, according to state Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
The supplemental budget, House Bill 1801, passed would increase state support for education by $200 million and restore much of the $6 billion in funding eliminated by the Governor’s line-item vetoes. The $30.031 billion spending plan would utilize existing revenues without the need for a tax increase.
Passage of the budget is crucial because it finally allows Pennsylvania to move beyond the nine-month budget impasse and begin working in earnest toward a responsible budget for next year.
Basic Education will see $5.95 billion in funding, an increase of $200 million from Fiscal Year 2014-15. The total also represents a $50 million increase over the funding vetoed by the Governor.
HB 1801 reverses the Governor’s line-item vetoes of funding for community colleges and the State System of Higher Education, while providing full funding for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities: Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln.
The bill would provide funds to preserve programs such as agricultural extension and research and 4-H that are currently in jeopardy since they were defunded by the governor.
“It takes 129 people in this Capitol to do anything,” Senator Yaw said. “That’s 26 senators, 102 house members and the Governor. On at least three occasions, we’ve had the agreement of 128 people. My guess is that we are going to have the agreement of 128 people again very shortly, and we’re looking at one person who has not seen fit to agree with the other 128. I get really offended that this governor is using kids in public schools, kids in college, kids in 4-H as leverage. Somewhere along the line 128 people can’t be wrong.”
House Bill 1801 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff