Harrisburg – The Senate today approved a state budget for 2013-14 that boosts funding for education, public safety and job creation, while supporting essential programs and holding the line on taxes, said Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24), who supported the measure.
“This is a responsible budget that funds essential programs without increasing the burden on taxpayers,” said Mensch. “It’s the result of months of analysis and deliberation, debate and compromise. It recognizes important spending priorities in a fiscally sound manner that doesn’t jeopardize future economic wellbeing.”
General Fund spending as proposed in House Bill 1437 is $28.37 billion, a modest 2.3 percent increase over current year spending and $64 million less than the governor’s budget request in February.
Basic Education funding for public schools will see a $129.9 million increase to $5.52 billion –$40.4 million above the governor’s request. The budget increases state support for early childhood education programs, with Pre-K Counts program funding increasing by $5 million for a total of $87.2 million and Head Start Assistance receiving an additional $2 million and totaling $39.17 million.
The budget provides an additional $6.5 million for Safe School Initiatives, bringing that total to $8.5 million.
The Senate-approved budget maintains state support for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities and State System of Higher Education schools at current levels, with the exception of Lincoln University, which receives a $2 million increase in state funding.
The budget steps up support for law enforcement and public safety programs to improve safety in neighborhoods and on Pennsylvania’s highways.
Overall funding for the Attorney General’s Office will increase by more than $9 million, with a $3 million increase for the Child Predator Interceptor Unit and $2.5 million for a new Mobile Street Crimes Unit. The budget increases funding for the State Police by nearly $15 million and funds three new State Police training classes, which will enroll 290 new cadets.
Senator Mensch serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which held a series of public hearings on the proposed budget earlier this year. House Bill 1437 was returned to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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