(HARRISBURG) – The Senate will carefully study the $36.1 billion state General Fund budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 unveiled by Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday, February 4, before a joint session of the General Assembly, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).
Scarnati said the Governor’s budget proposal includes no broad-based tax increases but does increase spending by over 4 percent and relies on new borrowing. The Governor is also continuing to push for a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, a $1 per-ton increase in the tipping fee charged to trash companies, and a fee for all municipalities for State Police services.
“Just as in past years, Senate Republicans remain committed to a budget that respects taxpayers while helping continue to foster job growth and economic development across our Commonwealth,” Scarnati said.
The Governor is requesting a $100 million increase in Basic Education Funding to $6.4 billion, a $30 million increase for early childhood education (Pre-K Counts to $242.3 million and Head Start to $69.2 million), and a $25 million increase in special education funding to $1.2 billion.
However his plan cuts funding for school safety grants from $60 million to $15 million and slashes $4.3 million in funding for important agricultural research, education and promotion programs.
“Governor Wolf’s massive cut to school safety funding while wanting to spend over $1.5 billion more in the budget this year is immensely concerning. Ensuring that students and teachers feel safe in their learning environments is a crucial part of helping children to learn and succeed. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure the final 2020-2021 fiscal year budget addresses the needs of every area of our Commonwealth,” Scarnati stated.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a three-week series of departmental budget hearings beginning on February 18. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Appropriations Committee to hear cabinet secretaries and other Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The state’s current fiscal year ends on June 30.
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