HARRISBURG – The Senate advanced two bills to implement key parts of the 2023-24 budget and drive out funding to schools, hospitals, EMS providers, higher education, libraries and more, according to Sen Dan Laughlin (R-49). These fiscal code bills take an important step to further finalize portions of the state budget which require implementation language.
“While we still need the House of Representatives to act on these bills, we have done our job to advance the budget to completion,” said Laughlin. “My Senate colleagues and I have tried to work with the governor and the House to produce a budget that maintains our commitment to moving Pennsylvania forward by holding the line on taxes, promoting job growth, continuing historic support for schools and setting aside money to prevent future tax hikes.”
House Bill 1300 reauthorizes assessments and payments to hospitals, boosts reimbursement rates for EMS providers, and reauthorizes judicial fees that courts rely on for funding. All three of these budget items are important and time-sensitive, Laughlin said.
In addition, the bill directs funding to many non-controversial and bipartisan budget items related to education, including:
- Providing for a two-year tuition freeze for PASSHE schools.
- Allocating more than $260 million for community colleges.
- Distributing more than $70 million in state aid for libraries.
- Allocating more than $76 million for special education funding for Intermediate Units.
- Reimbursing schools for providing free breakfasts for all students ($46.5 million).
- Transferring more than $8.5 million to maintain current PHEAA grant levels.
- Distributing $11 million in grants for non-public school safety initiatives.
- Increasing the Payment in Lieu of Taxes rate paid to municipalities from the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission.
HB 1300, approved by a bipartisan vote, also distributes $150 million for the state’s Clean Streams Fund to address agricultural conservation, nutrient management, clean water procurement and stormwater management.
The bill also allocates $16 million in medical assistance incentive payments and changes how nursing home reimbursements are calculated to prevent dramatic swings that could force many providers to cease operations.
The Senate also voted to advance Senate Bill 757, which addresses other priorities included in the original budget deal Senate Republicans negotiated with Gov. Josh Shapiro in June.
This includes the creation of the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) program to provide additional educational options for students in failing schools, as well as $150 million in new funding for the state’s popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit program to expand educational opportunities to families throughout the state.
“There is no reason the people of Pennsylvania should be kept waiting on further implementation of the state budget. We call on the House of Representatives to immediately return to session to complete the 2023-24 budget. I truly hope the House can get back to Harrisburg to finish this process rather than waiting until September or October,” said Laughlin.
Contact: David Kozak 717-787-8927