Via Marc Levy with the Associated Press
Senate and House floor votes were expected Friday, less than 24 hours after the details became public. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf supports it. Lawmakers say they’ll try next week to find $2 billion-plus to cover a two-year projected shortfall.
The package authorizes $870 million in spending above the last approved budget of $31.5 billion, or almost 3 percent. That includes $400 million being added to the just-ending fiscal year’s books.
It carries more money for schools, pension obligations and services for the intellectually disabled. It demands belt-tightening across government agencies and in Medicaid, and counts on savings from a shrinking prisons population.
Here are highlights of a bipartisan spending plan for Pennsylvania state government’s 2017-18 budget year that starts Saturday:
THE BIG PICTURE
• Increases spending through the state’s main bank account to $32 billion. Approves about $870 million, or almost 3 percent, in spending above the last enacted budget of just over $31.5 billion, including approximately $400 million to go on the just-ending fiscal year’s books. Otherwise, increases spending $54 million, or 0.2 percent.
• Lacks legislation to fund it and requires more than $2 billion in yet-to-be-identified cash to balance, according to lawmakers.
• Plans to merge the Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole into a new Department of Criminal Justice.
• Plans to merge the Human Services and Health departments, but keep the Aging and Drug and Alcohol Programs departments separate.
• Increases aid for public school operations and instruction by $100 million, an increase of nearly 2 percent to $6 billion.
• Increases early-childhood education funding by $30 million, an increase of 15 percent to $226 million.
• Increases special education funding by $25 million, an increase of 2 percent to above $1.1 billion.
• Increases state-owned university aid by $9 million, an increase of 2 percent to $453 million; otherwise holds higher education funding flat at $1.6 billion
• EDUCATION: Grows 3.5 percent to $12.2 billion.
• HUMAN SERVICES: Cut 2 percent to $12.1 billion.
• PRISONS AND PAROLE: Cut by less than 1 percent to $2.5 billion.
• COURTS: Held flat at $355.5 million.
• GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Grows 5 percent to $325 million.
• ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Cut by less than 1 percent to $148 million.
• ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE: Held flat at $96 million.