Earlier today the state Senate passed an amended version of a House budget proposal, which included the largest spending increase in a decade. The House must now agree to the Senate's changes before sending it to the governor.
So, what's in the new budget proposal? More spending.
The Senate added $74 million in new spending to the House's proposal. But the spending increase appears smaller because $95 million from the “Transfer to the Commonwealth Financing Authority” line item was shifted off the General Fund Budget. The Senate budget reduces that line item to $0, but taxpayers are still required to foot the bill for the payments, even if it comes out of a different pot of money.
Counting that expenditure, the Senate budget is $31.63 billion—$1.6 billion (5.3 percent) more than last year's enacted budget.
The biggest Senate increases were in the areas of higher education. They also added $9 million in DCED programs—that is, corporate welfare programs and “walking around money” (WAMs) used for local projects in their districts.
The table below summarizes the differences between the two budgets. One last point: The legislature has still not agreed to a plan to balance the budget. So we will continue to monitor what revenue sources will be used to pay for the additional spending.
|Executive Offices||$182,918||$184,068||$1,150||Increases to Human Relations Commission and Law Enforcement Activities|
|Treasury||$1,163,015||$1,163,265||$250||Increase to General Government Operations|
|Agriculture||$140,527||$143,658||$3,131||Increases to multiple programs, shows|
|Community and Economic Development||$231,851||$240,847||$8,996||Includes Commonwealth Financing Authority funding moved offline; Major Increases in Marketing to Attract Tourists and Keystone Communities|
|Conservation and Natural Resources||$106,336||$106,961||$625||Increase to Heritage and Other Parks|
|Drug and Alcohol Programs||$52,354||$47,604||-$4,750||Elimination of Emergency Addiction Treatment|
|Education||$11,770,661||$11,781,340||$10,679||Increases to Job Training Programs and Community Colleges|
|State System of Higher Education||$433,389||$444,224||$10,835|
|Thaddeus Stevens College||$12,949||$13,273||$324|
|PHEAA||$313,554||$321,289||$7,735||Increases to four programs|
|Environmental Protection||$147,808||$148,356||$548||Increases for Environment Program Management and Chesapeake Bay Commission|
|General Services||$114,886||$119,390||$4,504||Increase for Capitol Fire Protection|
|Health||$214,218||$215,493||$1,275||Increases for General Government Operations and Bio-Technology research|
|Human Services||$11,968,156||$11,982,401||$14,245||Increases in 11 programs|
|Judiciary||$354,503||$355,503||$1,000||Increases in all courts, reduction in Reimbursement of County Costs|
|Government Support Agencies||$51,665||$51,765||$100||Increase in Center for Rural Pennsylvania|
|General Fund Total||$31,554,717||$31,629,079||$74,362||Includes Commonwealth Financing Authority funding moved offline; The state must make this payment, even if it comes from another fund. It does not represent a reduction in spending.|