Created by House Republican Fiscal Responsibility
HARRISBURG - Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today noted that Pennsylvania’s $33.9 billion budget proves that prudent budgeting decisions led by House Republicans are paying dividends in fiscal year 2019-20.
The House of Representatives passed the General Appropriations bill (House Bill 790
) today by a vote of 140-62.
“When the House Republican Caucus regained the majority following the 2010 election, we set forth a vision focused on growing the economy to provide private sector, family-sustaining jobs,” Turzai said. “We also knew that we had to provide important investments in education and services for our most vulnerable – like those individuals with disabilities – while still respecting the hard-working families paying taxes.”
“We remained steadfast in our promises and we delivered. Under my tenure as Majority Leader and now Speaker of the House, our caucus has advanced a pro-growth agenda that has resulted in this year’s historic surplus, allowing us to make needed investments while protecting taxpayers,” Turzai said.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has declined from 7.9% in January of 2011 to 3.8% today – the lowest rate since state-level records began in 1976. The state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown from $599 billion in 2010 to $789 billion in 2018, a 15% increase in real GDP, despite a state population that has grown by less than 1%.
In this time, House Republicans have also led efforts to substantially reduce the burden that the Commonwealth’s debt places on Pennsylvania taxpayers. Annual contributions to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System have increased by almost $2.5 billion. The state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) debt ceiling has been lowered by $1 billion. And historic pension reform was passed to limit the risk that future Pennsylvanians will suffer under an unmanageable pension debt.
“Throughout the past eight years, many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have pushed to impose new taxes, increase tax rates, and otherwise enlarge Pennsylvania’s government,” Turzai said. “We have consistently rejected these calls, and insisted on a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda that would allow revenues to grow through increased economic activity, not new taxes.”
This year, without a single new tax or increased tax rate, Pennsylvania’s General Fund tax revenue is up 6.3% over the 2017-18 fiscal year. Personal income tax revenue has increased almost 5%, by $650 million, because thousands of additional Pennsylvanians have found family-sustaining jobs. Sales tax revenue is up by over 7%, or $737 million, and Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax is up by 17.4%, or over $500 million.
“The CNI increase is particularly significant because it means that Pennsylvania’s businesses are thriving, hiring additional employees, increasing wages, returning profit to their shareholders, and improving capital assets,” Turzai said. “Thanks to this economic success, we expect to place nearly $300 million into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, ensuring that we will have reserves to help us during challenging economic times.”
The 2019-20 budget increases funding for individuals with disabilities by $90 million, to a total of over $2 billion, helping the state’s most vulnerable citizens live fuller lives. It also increases state spending on public K-12 education by $430 million, to a record of nearly $13 billion, providing Pennsylvania’s children with the best possible foundation for their futures.
“As this year’s budget shows, growing the economy is the key. We remain committed to improving the lives of our hard-working families and creating opportunity for each Pennsylvanian,” Turzai concluded.
House Bill 790 is now awaiting consideration by the Senate.
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives