Pa. The $ 40 billion budget includes more funding for the poorest school districts, saving most of the federal bailout funding. Spotlight Pa

Spotlight PA Is an independent, nonpartisan news room run by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive / The Patriot-News, TribLIVE / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletter..

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania β€” Friday’s Pennsylvania Parliament has pushed a $ 40 billion budget package to send more money to the state’s poorest school districts, not including new taxes, and saving billions of dollars in federal bailouts. ..

Unlike in the past few years, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and Republican-controlled parliament have been financially collecting $ 7.3 billion and an additional $ 3 billion from the federal coronavirus rescue program signed by President Joe Biden in March. The plunge headed for the June budget season of this year. After an unexpectedly strong recovery from the pandemic, the multi-billion dollar deficit forecast has been reversed.

The plan is a state rainy day fund that wastes much of its surplus income ($ 2.5 billion). We also use over $ 1 billion in federal relief funding for nursing homes, personal care homes, after-school and summer enrichment programs, and road and bridge projects.

“This year’s budget reflects resilience,” said Senate leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland). β€œIt addresses the most pressing challenges facing schools, nursing homes, infrastructure, and families in distress, and saves money to provide a future financial safety net.”

The Republican Party said it would like to save more than $ 5 billion in the remaining federal bailouts for future budgets.

“We experienced this in 2008 and 2009,” said Stan Saylor (Republican, York), chairman of the House Expenditure Commission. “We got all these federal dollars, and what happened they used all the dollars right away, and then the next governor came … and $ 4 billion There was a deficit. “

The main budget passed through Capitol 140-61 on Friday night, and the State Senate cast 43-7 votes hours later. Bills that allow many other budgets have also been finalized.

Wolf said late Friday that he would sign the package next week.

“This budget will help our state move forward and rebuild a strong and equitable economy that works for Pennsylvania,” he said in a statement. “This is a budget to invest in Pennsylvania.”

Minority Democrats called spending plans a wasteful opportunity. Members of both chambers called for federal funding to be used for a variety of purposes, including subsidizing affordable housing programs and increasing direct care workers.

Many stakeholder groups have separately requested a portion of federal funding.

“This document, pressed against us without a ceremony, is intended to save money for a rainy day,” said Senator Nikil Saval (D., Philadelphia) on the floor of the room. Told. “But this makes it clear that we will withhold the lifelines of millions of people across the state who have been drowned in 16 months of heavy rain. This rainy day is happening now.”

Wolf February The budget was planned for $ 37.8 billionHe asked lawmakers to spend another $ 1 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30.

The governor also called for a drastic review of the state’s personal income tax to undertake an increase in funding for public education. He initially wanted to lower the tax rate for low-income earners, shift the greater burden to high-income earners, and raise about $ 4 billion annually.

Republicans have bloated Wolf’s plans and pushed them back excessively, negotiating a compromise with the governor in recent weeks.

However, Wolff continued to promote a large new state pledge of $ 1.3 billion annually to public schools to close the long-term disparity in how the state distributes aid to the poorest districts.

The final budget plan will increase funding for basic education by $ 300 million. Of that amount, $ 200 million is through a fair funding scheme that determines the state’s dollar district share based on factors such as registration, students learning English or experiencing poverty, and median household income. The money will be sent and an additional $ 100 million will be shared by 100 people. The poorest district in the state.

Districts that benefit from “level-up” supplements include the Pottstown School District in Montgomery County, McKeesport in Allegheny County, and the cities of Lancaster, Reading, and York in central Pennsylvania.

Wolf and the Democrats wanted to send basic education funding for all states, not just the new budget, through the following formula: Bridging the gap between rich and poor school districts.. In a statement, the governor said he was “disappointed” at failing to reach that goal and called the level-up a “down payment in this battle.”

“We’re excited that the 100 most underfunded school districts in the federal government are trying to boost the funding needed to educate their students,” said Maureen E. Madden (D., Monroe). Said in the house. floor. “But my three school districts may be 101, 102, and 103. What it means for those school districts, their taxpayers, and their homeowners to be modest. will you do?”

The budget will also increase special education funding by $ 50 million, pre-kinder programs by $ 30 million, and expand tax credit programs that send $ 40 million and hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to private and parochial schools each year. It is appropriated for.

Democrats in the House and Senate have touted a new $ 30 million investment in community anti-violence block grants, lamenting the lack of federal bailout spending.

“We know that wherever we live in Pennsylvania, gun violence has increased significantly, especially in the last 12 months,” said minority leader Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia). Told the reporters. this year. “As a legislative body, we are interrupting this cycle.”

While you are here … If you learn something from this story, pay it in advance and become a member of Spotlight PA So someone else can do it in the future Spotlight PA is funded by Basics And readers like you A person working on accountability journalism to get results.

Our content is free, but journalists are working hard. 100% of your contribution to is directed directly to helping us cover important news and events in our area. Thanks for saying that local news is important!

Pa. The $ 40 billion budget includes more funding for the poorest school districts, saving most of the federal bailout funding. Spotlight Pa

Source link Pa. The $ 40 billion budget includes more funding for the poorest school districts, saving most of the federal bailout funding. Spotlight Pa

Related Articles

Back to top button