Mensch: State Budget Holds Line on Taxes and Funds Essential Services

Harrisburg – The Senate today approved a Fiscal Year 2019-20 spending plan that includes no tax increases, funds essential services, promotes job creation, supports education at all levels and sets revenue aside in the state Rainy Day Fund, according to Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24).

“This is a fiscally responsible budget that protects taxpayers, boosts education funding and sets money aside to guard against future tax increases,” Mensch said. “It does so while caring those in need by directing funds to initiatives that work.”

Revenues for Fiscal Year 2018-19 are anticipated to be $865 million over projections, with an ending balance of about $300 million. All of that money will go into the Rainy Day Fund, which covers financial shortfalls in the event of a dip in the economy.

The $34 billion budget increases state support for all levels of education. Basic Education funding is increased by $160 million and special education will see a $50 million increase. 

HB 790 increases spending to support early education with Pre-K spending increasing by $25 million, HeadStart receiving a $5 million increase, and Early Intervention services receiving a $15 million increase.

Higher education institutions will also benefit from this budget with an across-the-board 2 percent increase in funding for community colleges, state-related universities (Pitt, Penn State. Temple and Lincoln) and the State System of Higher Education.

The budget continues Senate Republicans’ ongoing efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s students and school staff by restoring the Governor’s $15 million cut to the Safe Schools program administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (back to $60 million) and increases the Safe School initiative under the Department of Education by $1 million to a total of $11 million.

The budget promotes workforce development and job training initiatives by:

  • Increasing funding for Career and Technical Education by 7.6 percent ($7 million) from $92 million to $99 million.
  • Increasing funding for Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants by 117.6 percent ($3 million) from $2.5 million to $5.5 million.
  • Increasing funding for the Pennsylvania College of Technology by 17.6 percent ($4 million) from $22.7 million to $26.7 million.
  • Increasing funding for Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology by 27.2 percent ($4 million) from $14.7 million to $18.7 million.
  • Increasing funding for New Choices/New Options by 50 percent ($250,000) from $500,000 to $750,000.

House Bill 790 was sent to the Governor for enactment into law.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at PASenatorBobMensch, or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

CONTACT: Mark Fetzko, mfetzko@pasen.gov, 717-787-3110