HARRISBURG – The state Senate today approved a Fiscal Year 2019-20 spending plan that includes no tax increases, provides funding for essential state services, strengthens the states agriculture industry, promotes workforce development, bolsters education spending, including career and technical education, and makes a substantial investment in the state Rainy Day Fund, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
House Bill 790, which spends nearly $34 billion, now goes to the Governor for enactment into law.
Revenues for Fiscal Year 2018-19 are anticipated to be $865 million over projections, with an ending balance of about $300 million. All of that money will go into the Rainy Day Fund, which covers financial shortfalls in the event of a dip in the economy.
The budget increases state support for all levels of education. Basic Education funding is increased by $160 million and special education will see a $50 million increase.
HB 790 increases spending to support early education with Pre-K spending increasing by $25 million, HeadStart receiving a $5 million increase, and Early Intervention services receiving a $15 million increase.
The budget continues Senate Republicans’ ongoing efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s students and school staff by restoring the Governor’s $15 million cut to the Safe Schools program administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (back to $60 million) and increases the Safe School initiative under the Department of Education by $1 million to a total of $11 million.
The budget promotes workforce development and job training initiatives by:
- Increasing funding for Career and Technical Education by 7.6 percent ($7 million) from $92 million to $99 million.
- Increasing funding for Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants by 117.6 percent ($3 million) from $2.5 million to $5.5 million.
- Increasing funding by $4 million to both the Pennsylvania College of Technology and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
- Increasing funding for New Choices/New Options by 50 percent ($250,000) from $500,000 to $750,000.
House Bill 790 maintains Senate Republicans’ commitment to Pennsylvania’s farmers by restoring all of the Governor’s proposed cuts and increases the overall appropriation to the Department of Agriculture by 13 percent to $19.5 million. This additional money includes:
- Increases for Ag Research/Ag Extension and the University of Pennsylvania School for Veterinary Medicine.
- New funding – Agricultural Business & Workforce Investment, $4.5 million; Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission (supplementing funding from the Race Horse Development Fund), $2 million; and, Livestock and Consumer Health Protection, $1 million.
“The operating budget approved today meets the core responsibilities of government and still funds the priorities shared by both parties,” Sen. Yaw said. “This measure maintains a quality education system, promotes job growth and addresses some of the most serious challenges facing our communities and state. I was happy to support this bill.”
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff