The Senate will carefully study the $34.1 billion state General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20 unveiled by Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday (February 5) before a joint session of the General Assembly, according to Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35).
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Langerholc will play a key role in a three-week series of Departmental Budget Hearings beginning on February 19. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Appropriations Committee to hear cabinet secretaries and other Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The state’s current fiscal year ends on June 30.
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $927.3 million (2.8 percent) increase in state spending from the current fiscal year. The Governor is not requesting a broad-based tax increase this year, but is continuing to push for a Marcellus Shale extraction tax and a fee for municipalities that rely on the State Police for local police coverage.
The Governor is requesting a $166 million increase in Basic Education Funding ($6.53 billion); a $50 million increase for early childhood education (Pre-K Counts, $232.2 million and Head Start, $69.1 million); and a $50 million increase in special education funding ($1.19 billion).
The State System of Higher Education would see a $7 million increase ($475.1 million), while state funding for community colleges and state-related universities is flat lined in the Governor’s request.
Langerholc, who led Senate efforts to establish school safety grants, said he was disappointed that the governor’s proposal cuts funding for that initiative from $60 million to $45 million.
“The School Safety and Security Committee has received over $300 million in requested funds from schools for safety provisions which are vital to keeping our schools and students secure,” Langerholc said. “Rather than cutting funding for this vital program, I believe we should be devoting more resources to a core government function – keeping our kids safe from harm.”
CONTACT: Gwenn Dando (717) 599-1164