HB 1801 will release $6.6 billion to complete 2015-2016 state budget without raising taxes. “The Governor has finally done the right thing for Pennsylvanians,” said Mensch. “This is a huge win for taxpayers. This funding is greatly needed by the community and I am relieved that the administration has finally come to its senses.”
HB 1801 restores funding, previously reduced or eliminated by the Governor, to state correctional institutions, basic education funding, and medical assistance capitation. With the restoration of vetoed monies under House Bill 1801, the 2015-16 state budget would spend $30.031 billion, a $872.6 million, or 3%, increase over 2014-15 levels.
Mensch emphasized that HB 1801 was identical to the three previous budget bills sent to the Governor since June 30, 2015. “The legislature delivered on its promise to accomplish a budget without tax increases,” said Mensch. “I find it shameful that the Governor took so long to release this funding. It caused unnecessary pain, paranoia, stress, debt, and undue financial pressure on constituents, school districts, Medicaid programs, government organizations, municipal entities and more.”
Through HB 1801, basic education spending will increase by $200 million, taking the Commonwealth’s investment for public schools to its highest levels ever, a record $5.93 billion. K-12 education funding is increased significantly for FY 2015-16 as follows:
- Basic Education Subsidy $150,000,000
- Ready-to-Learn Block Grant $50,000,000
- Special Education $30,000,000
- Pre-K and Early Education $30,000,000
In addition, funding for higher education is increased by five percent over FY 2014-15. The governor’s cuts to community colleges, PASSHE and state-related universities would also be reversed.
Through HB 1801, $50.5 million will be provided for agricultural extension and research and includes $2 million to combat avian flu should an outbreak occur within the Commonwealth. This funding will ensure that 1,100 employees in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Agriculture Extension Program will not be furloughed and that these vital programs can continue uninterrupted.
In addition, the legislation also restores funding for Child Advocacy Centers, Agricultural Research and Agricultural Excellence programs, economic development programs, disease-specific treatment/research programs, critical access hospitals, hospital-based burn centers, local municipal emergency relief funds, and much more.
“We can now move on from the 2015-16 budget and focus on the 2016-17 budget as well as other important legislative priorities,” said Mensch. “I will continue to fight for our taxpayers, social services, and our communities.”
Following, the conference, the administration announced that the Governor would veto the fiscal code. The impact of this veto will be reviewed and addressed individually.
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