The Governor's Budget for Pennsylvania
Governor Wolf presented his budget today with a focus on education and jobs, with what both sides described as a bipartisan outlook or at the very least places where both parties could find agreement. Overall, the budget increases spending by 4.2% (or $1.4 billion) compared to last year. Nearly $300 million would go towards increased education spending for K-12, special education, and state universities.
Governor Wolf also proposed a higher minimum wage, raising the current rate of $7.25/hour to $12/hour by July and then increasing the wage over time until it reaches $15 in 2025. The last time the minimum wage increased in Pennsylvania was when the federal government increased the wage in 2009.
Here are some of the articles we've been reading on the budget:
- Schools, farms and voting machines in Gov. Tom Wolf's budget sights
- Gov. Wolf unveils budget: more money for public schools and a higher minimum wage
- Gov. Wolf’s 2019-20 budget plan: Winners and losers
- And here's where you can check out the budget for yourself
Below is our analysis of the selected line items. We encourage you to reach out to your legislators and let them know what you think of the Governor's budget.
- Education: Total Budget of $13,723,526 - increase of 3.45%
The biggest increase in education funding this year goes to the Pre-K Counts program with a 20.8% increase in their budget. Adult and Family Literacy, meanwhile, was cut by $400,000. Job Training and Education Programs along with Mobile Science and Math Education Programs received no funding.
- Health: Total Budget of $194,710,000 - decrease of 2.18%
While the budget includes increases for some programs, including significant increases to the State Laboratory and State Health Centers, a number of programs face elimination.
- As in previous years, the Governor's budget is again trying to consolidate a number of line items dealing with specific diseases. This year, the budget proposes a new "Disease Management and Education Programs" line item, which will merge the following lines: Adult Cystic Fibrosis and Other Chronic Respiratory Illnesses, Cooley's Anemia, Hemophilia, and Sickle Cell. This line item is in the budget for $2,669,000, about $400,000 less than the total funding for these programs last year.
- Other disease specific line items were completely zeroed out, with no note saying there was a plan to merge them into the new Disease Management line. They include: Diabetes Programs, Lupus, Epilepsy Support Services, Tourette's Syndrome, ALS Support Services, and Leukemia/Lymphoma.
- Regional Cancer Institutes, Regional Poison Control Centers, and Trauma Prevention are also zeroed out.
- Human Services: Total Budget of $12,988,602,000 - increase of 3.23%
The biggest increase in the Human Services budget comes from the CHIP program, which is in line for an increase of 279%. There are also some funding changes among various Medical Assistance line items. Long-Term Managed Care is slated for a $10,007,000 increase, while Home and Community Based Services are seeing their budget slashed by 65%. Most of the other programs we follow in this department received level funding (that is, the same amount as last year). General Assistance remains in the budget according to the Executive Budget version.
- Labor and Industry: Total Budget of $80,922,000 - increase of 0.22%
The biggest changes in Labor and Industry Funding come in the Occupational and Industrial Safety line item (with a decrease of 41.69%) and the Assistive Technology and Training line (increase of 12.5%).
- State: Total Budget of $29,114,000 - increase of 160.81%
Increases in this budget focus largely on elections, with a new line item added to provide $15 million so counties can upgrade their voting machines. There's also increased funding for Lobbying Disclosure.