HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Wolf today unveiled a proposed $33.2 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 before a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. According to state Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), the Governor’s budget proposal represents a $1.2 billion increase in spending from the current fiscal year.
“This is just the beginning of the process,” said Yaw. “As with last year, the budget passed by the Senate won’t be exactly the same as the governor’s proposal. We’ll make changes based on our review of the plan and what we hear during the budget hearings, with the ultimate goal being a fiscally responsible state budget passed in a timely manner.”
During his remarks, the Governor announced a $50 million investment in job training and the launch of “PASmart,” a realignment of workforce development from K-12 education through career programs. He intends to dedicate $40 million for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and computer science education, as well as $10 million to promote apprenticeships and industry partnerships.
“I was pleased to hear of the Governor’s focus on career and technical education initiatives,” Yaw said. “As Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania College of Technology, that’s something I’d like to know the details of and how the Governor intends to use it statewide.”
The Governor is also requesting a $100 million increase in basic education funding; a $40 million increase for early childhood education; and a $20 million increase in special education funding. The State System of Higher Education would see a $15 million increase, while state funding for community colleges and state-related universities is flat lined in the Governor’s request.
Governor Wolf also renewed a push for a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, which the Administration projects to raise $248.7 million. He called for a $25 per capita fee on municipalities that rely on the State Police for local police coverage and hopes to further dedicate state funding for home-visiting programs designed to assist new mothers struggling with substance use disorders.
The Senate’s review of the budget will formally begin on February 20th with three weeks of hearings conducted by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The state’s current fiscal year ends on June 30th.
Yaw noted he will work with fellow members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to carefully review the Governor’s proposal.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff