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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Parliament on Friday called for a $ 40 billion budget to send more money to the state’s poorest school districts, not including new taxes, and save billions of dollars in bailouts federal. ..
Unlike in recent years, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled parliament raised $ 7.3 billion and an additional $ 3 billion from the federal coronavirus rescue package signed by President Joe Biden in March. The plunge headed for the budget season in June of this year. After a surprisingly strong recovery from the pandemic, the multibillion-dollar deficit forecast has been reversed.
The plan is a public rainy day fund that wastes a large chunk of its excess income ($ 2.5 billion). We also use over $ 1 billion in federal relief funds for nursing homes, personal care homes, after-school and summer enrichment programs, and road and bridge projects.
“This year’s budget reflects resilience,” said Senate Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland). “It addresses the most pressing challenges facing schools, nursing homes, infrastructure and families in distress, and saves money to provide a future financial safety net.” “
The Republican Party has said it would like to save more than $ 5 billion in remaining federal bailouts for future budgets.
“We went through this in 2008 and 2009,” said Stan Saylor (Republican, York), chairman of the House Expenditure Commission. “We got all these federal dollars, and what happened, they used all the dollars right away, then the next governor came in… and $ 4 billion. There was a deficit. “
The main budget was passed by Capitol 140-61 on Friday night and the state Senate voted 43-7 hours later. Bills that authorize many other budgets have also been finalized.
Wolf said on Friday night that he would sign the package next week.
“This budget will help our state move forward and rebuild a strong and fair economy that works for Pennsylvania,” he said in a statement. “It’s a budget to invest in Pennsylvania.”
Minority Democrats called the spending plans a waste. Members of both chambers called for federal funding to be used for a variety of purposes, including subsidizing affordable housing programs and increasing the number of direct care workers.
Many stakeholder groups have separately requested a portion of the federal funding.
“This document, pressed against us unceremoniously, is meant to save money for a rainy day,” Sen. Nikil Saval (D., Philadelphia) said on the room floor. Said. “But it clearly shows that we will hold back the lifelines of millions of people across the state who have drowned in 16 months of heavy rains. That rainy day is coming now.
Wolf February The budget was forecast at $ 37.8 billionHe called on lawmakers to spend an additional $ 1 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30.
The governor also called for a drastic review of the state’s personal income tax to undertake increased funding for public education. He initially wanted to lower the tax rate on low incomes, shift the heaviest burden to high incomes and raise around $ 4 billion a year.
Republicans have inflated Wolf’s plans and pushed them back to the limit, negotiating a compromise with the governor in recent weeks.
However, Wolff continued to push for a new state commitment of $ 1.3 billion per year to public schools to close the long-term disparity in how the state distributes aid to poorer districts.
The final budget plan will increase funding for basic education by $ 300 million. Of that, $ 200 million comes from an equitable funding program that determines the district’s share of state dollars based on factors such as enrollment, students learning English or experiencing poverty, and median household income. The money will be sent and an additional $ 100 million will be shared by 100 people. The poorest neighborhood in the state.
Districts that receive “top level” supplements include the Pottstown School District in Montgomery County, McKeesport in Allegheny County, and the towns of Lancaster, Reading and York in central Pennsylvania.
Wolf and the Democrats wanted to send funds for basic education to all states, not just the new budget, according to the following formula: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor School Districts.. In a statement, the governor said he was “disappointed” not to have achieved this goal and called the rise in level “a down payment in this battle”.
“We are delighted that the 100 most underfunded school districts in the federal government are trying to increase the funding needed to educate their students,” said Maureen E. Madden (D., Monroe). Said in the house. floor. “But my three school districts can be 101, 102 and 103. What it means for these school districts, their taxpayers and their owners to be modest. will you do it?”
The budget will also increase funding for special education by $ 50 million, kindergarten programs by $ 30 million, and expand tax credit programs that send $ 40 million and hundreds of millions of dollars in. taxpayer money to private and parish schools each year. It is suitable for.
Democrats in the House and Senate have touted a new investment of $ 30 million in community anti-violence grants, lamenting the lack of federal bailout spending.
“We know that everywhere we live in Pennsylvania gun violence has increased dramatically, especially in the past 12 months,” said Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia). Told reporters. this year. “As a legislature, we are interrupting this cycle.”
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Pa. The $ 40 billion budget includes more funds for poorer school districts, saving the bulk of federal bailout funding. Spotlight Pa
Source link Pa. The $ 40 billion budget includes more funds for poorer school districts, saving the bulk of federal bailout funding. Spotlight Pa