Monday, June 27, 2011

Pennsylvania Budget as of Monday Morning

Philadelphia Reading Railroad Bridge 01As we get into what should be the last week of negotiating over the Pennsylvania state budget, here are some of the highlights of what we've read today:
  • The Senate will unveil details of their spending plan today, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
    • $100 million in accountability block grants for K-12 education that the House added to the governor's budget is expected to remain in the Senate budget.
    • An assessment on hospitals will be raised, giving the state more access to federal funds for medical care of the uninsured.
    • The University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Temple University, and Lincoln University will see funding cuts of 19%.
  • According to The Times-Tribune, state revenue surpluses will be at $700 million by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.  Currently, that surplus is not part of budget spending.
    • The budget will contain no new taxes and will spend $900 million less than the current state budget. 
    • It will restore $25 million in aid to public schools above what the House budget includes, with that money being spread among 8 poorer school districts.
    • Proposals are still being made regarding Marcellus Shale impact fees, but no final compromise has been agreed to.
  • Other PA Budget News includes the following:
    • School Districts - The budget still includes about $900 million in reduction for the state’s 501 public school districts. But it reduces some of the cutbacks proposed by the Governor in his original budget proposal released in March. The state will spend $300 million less for schools in the coming fiscal year, and will not make up for the loss of over $600 million in federal stimulus funds that supported school funding last year.
    • Medical Assistance and Child Welfare Programs - The Assembly and the Governor are still discussing how to fund the block grants, and what else to cut to afford them within the increasingly tight budget framework, according to Capitolwire. It remains likely that the funding of $470 million will be found by making cuts to Medical Assistance and child welfare programs in DPW.
    • Human Service Development Fund - The plan restores most funding for the Human Services Development Fund, which supports social service programs in the counties, including much of Philadelphia’s homeless system. The funding had originally been eliminated by the Governor in his proposal. 
The Senate Appropriations Committee is meeting now, so we will hopefully have more updates for you soon.

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