The Senate today approved a Fiscal Year 2019-20 spending plan that includes no tax increases, provides funding for essential services, promotes workforce development efforts, bolsters education spending at all levels and makes a substantial investment in the state Rainy Day Fund, according to Senator Dan Laughlin. Audio
House Bill 790 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 for the Pennsylvania College of Technology by 17.6 percent ($4 million) from $22.7 million to $26.7 million.
- Increasing funding for Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology by 27.2 percent ($4 million) from $14.7 million to $18.7 million.
- Increasing funding for New Choices/New Options by 50 percent ($250,000) from $500,000 to $750,000.
“Workforce development must be one of our top state priorities,” said Senator Laughlin. “The investments we make in this area today will pay off well into the future. A well-trained and skilled workforce is a key selling point as we work to draw top tier businesses and industries to Pennsylvania and especially here in the northwest part of the Commonwealth.”
Revenues for Fiscal Year 2018-19, which ends on June 30, 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, a move strongly supported by Senator Laughlin.
“Economies, as everyone knows, are cyclical. That means it is prudent to store away surplus funds to help us get through the next financial crisis,” Senator Laughlin said. “We could easily have spent that money now, but I would much rather hold the line on state spending to what is appropriate and what is necessary.”
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.
Higher education institutions will also benefit from this budget with an across-the-board 2 percent increase in funding for community colleges, state-related universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) and the State System of Higher Education.
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.
Contact: Matt Azeles firstname.lastname@example.org