House Sends Responsible $27.3 Billion Budget to Senate

Prioritizes state spending without new taxes or additional borrowing 

The House today passed a state budget that spends more state dollars for the state’s Basic Education Funding appropriation than ever before, Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) announced.  

The House budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year spends $27.3 billion and has no tax increases. It represents a 3 percent reduction in spending compared to the current budget, which was supplemented by nearly $3 billion in federal stimulus dollars. The House budget restores more than a half-billion dollars to basic and higher education which was reduced in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget plan.

“It is prioritized spending, it is responsible spending, and it does not increase taxes, it does not borrow and it will be done on time,” Turzai said.  “This budget spends $27.3 billion... that is billions of dollars to help Pennsylvanians who need it and billions to help students.”

The state budget had to deal with the loss of the following federal stimulus dollars: welfare, $1.7 billion; education, $1.1 billion; and corrections, $180 million. 

Under the House budget, K-12 education would receive a $210 million net funding increase when compared to the governor’s budget. The proposal would allot $100 million for the highly successful Accountability Block Grant program that provides school districts with flexible funding often used for pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten, and tutoring programs. The House budget also gives an historic investment of state dollars to the Basic Education Funding (BEF) line item, as it redirects an additional $100 million back into the fund. BEF is the primary funding stream for all 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. 

The House budget also restores substantial funding for higher education – an additional $387 million. The 14 state-owned universities that make up the State System of Higher Education will have $195.2 million more funding than Corbett proposed – 85 percent of the current year’s funding levels. 

State-related universities (Penn State, Temple, University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University) will receive an additional $184 million, which is75 percent of the current year’s funding levels. 

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) will receive $10.7 billion, or 40 percent of the General Fund budget, representing an increase of $136 million over the current year’s budget. The current budget (2010-2011) includes $1.7 billion in federal stimulus funds making adjustments clearly necessary.  

The House budget invests $4.2 billion for medical assistance benefits, $1.3 billion for programs serving children and $2.1 billion for mental health and mental retardation services. 

The House budget identifies savings within DPW by instituting co-pays for transportation programs and adjusting child care program co-payments, increased use of generic drugs, and the implementation of new welfare reform legislation that will reduce fraud and abuse in medical assistance programs. Projected growth estimates in some DPW programs were also revaluated and adjusted.  

All general administrative department lines were initially reduced by 10 percent to more equitably distribute the fiscal impact caused by the loss of federal stimulus dollars. The House budget also eliminates unfilled vacancies across all departments. 

The Legislature’s allocation is reduced by $15.3 million, or 5.1 percent over the current budget. 

 “Some people in the Capitol have called for higher and higher spending. They seem to forget, it’s not their money,” Turzai said. “We are stewards of those hard-earned dollars and we can't take it lightly. The House Budget reflects it.” 

State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Stephen Miskin

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