PA Senate, House Send Complete FY 2020-21 State Budget To Gov. Wolf
On Friday, the House and Senate passed and sent to Gov. Wolf the FY 2020-21 budget that adds about $11 billion to the temporary budget they passed in May for a total General Fund budget of $36.5 billion, about four percent above last year.
The new budget has no new taxes and fills, for the moment, a multibillion deficit caused by the COVID pandemic. Read more here.
The budget was being moved with the support, generally, of Republicans, but not Democrats.
The budget deals with the deficit by using more than $3.3 billion in federal COVID pandemic aid to pay for state expenditures and transfers more than $431 million from special funds.
The budget does not respond to a request by Gov. Wolf in August to provide additional aid to small business, restaurants and bars, renters, frontline health care workers and other groups hard hit by the pandemic. Read more here.
Gov. Wolf indicated he will sign the budget. Read more here.
Senate Republican Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre): “Despite all of the challenges we faced this year, we have passed a balanced budget that stands up for taxpayers and will help us move our economy forward. We must do everything in our power as a Commonwealth to get the state back to work.
“Just as Pennsylvanians have worked to live within their budgets, we too focused on finalizing a budget that would continue to serve our residents without asking them for more of their hard-earned dollars.”
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny): “This is not the budget we wanted. It’s not a budget that provides enough assistance to those struggling with the economic woes caused by COVID-19. But it is a budget that reflects the crisis that we are in.
“If the Senate Democrats and I had our way, we would have used the $1.3 billion in CARES dollars that we had left to fund direct assistance programs for our small businesses, schools, hospitals, homeowners and renters.
“ Using that money to balance the budget is a missed opportunity that leaves many in need. We also left millions of dollars in transportation projects unfinished in a time where our infrastructure needs work.”
House Republican Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Mifflin): “When we passed our first appropriation five months ago, it was nearly inconceivable that we could have achieved a full-year spending plan absent tax increases, public borrowing or substantial cuts.
“Accomplishing such a feat now is a testament to the perseverance of the people of Pennsylvania and the dedication of the members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to work for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.”
State environmental and conservation agency General Fund budgets were generally flat in the final FY 2020-21 budget, but looked like they increased due to funds shifted and restored as part of the convoluted FY 2019-20 budget.
The General Fund line item for DEP is still below the 1994-95 level of support.
Bottomline is they were cut because scheduled increases in pay and benefit costs will eat into that ‘cost-to-carry’ budget number.