As pointed out yesterday, one of the six sticky items in the Pennsylvania budget negotiations is how much taxpayer money to spend. The $30.788 billion “framework budget” passed by the Senate includes a $1.6 billion increase over last year’s spending and major increases in several departments.
The spending increases in education, demanded by the governor, were well reported. But other increases, many of them increases above and beyond the budget passed by the legislature in June, weren’t revealed until early last week.
Here is a rundown of some of the largest increases—at a time when inflation and population growth add up to 1.71% (see chart below):
- $691 million more for K-12 education ($341 million more than the June budget), a 6.7% increase. (This includes school pension funding that would be moved to new fund in 2015-16).
- $79 million for higher education, a 6.5% increase
- $421 million more for human services, a 3.7% increase
- $103 million more for community and economic development ($94 million more than the June budget, including $85 million more in WAMs and discretionary grant programs), a 50.5% increase
- $48 million more for conservation and natural resources (much of this is due to shifting expenditures from the Oil & Gas Lease Fund, which has seen revenue declines thanks to declining gas prices and Gov. Wolf’s decision to ban new drilling in state parks and forests).
- $25 million more for the judiciary
- $24 million more for the legislature (this is over the amount passed by the legislature last year, Gov. Corbett reduced funding with a line item veto)