Responsible Budget Bill Approved
July 1, 2014
HARRISBURG – Lawmakers approved a $29.09 billion
on-time state budget Monday in Harrisburg that provides a significant increase
in spending for public education while holding the line on taxes.
The House voted
to concur on Senate amendments to House Bill 2328, the general appropriations
bill for fiscal year 2014-15. The legislation, which contains no new taxes or
tax increases, sets yet another record in funding for K-12 education at $10.5
billion, eclipsing the amount spent during 2013-14.
Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana/Armstrong) said today that the 2014-15
state budget is a modest spending plan that funds the state’s priorities
without increasing taxes or imposing new ones.
Matt Gabler said, “For the fourth consecutive year, Pennsylvania has an on-time
budget that spends responsibly, lives within our means and supports the core
functions of government. In other words, it mirrors the spending practices
Pennsylvanians employ when putting together their household budgets.“
noted that even as state revenues plummeted following the introduction of the
governor’s February spending proposal, the $29 billion state budget approved Monday
includes moderate increases for education, hospitals, nursing homes, and
funding to reduce the waiting lists for people with intellectual disabilities
in need of services.
budget funds what we need to fund and nothing more,” Smith said. “Any budgeting process needs to reflect
fiscal restraint and that’s what we have attempted to achieve in this
plan. We support our priorities with
existing revenues, not new money from taxes.”
this coming fiscal year, we will be funding K-12 education at a record level.
This commitment of $10.5 billion in state funding to our schools eclipses last
year’s record amount by over half a billion dollars. In fact, this bill
increases support for public schools in the 75th Legislative
District by nearly $2 million over last year’s budget.” Gabler said.
Accountability Block Grant is replaced with a new $200 million “Ready to Learn
Block Grant,” which schools may use in a variety of ways to support academic
the success of the child advocacy center located in Brookville, “Western PA
CARES for Kids,” Smith said he is pleased that this budget contains $2.2.
million to aid centers all across Pennsylvania that are providing services and
support for children who have said they were either physically or sexually
stressed that the budget does not contain any of the revenue-enhancing options
discussed in the past several weeks, including increasing taxes on Marcellus
Shale gas drillers or hiking the cigarette tax. It also continues the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise
business tax which has been a key incentive to Pennsylvania’s job creators.
support from the federal government has placed certain burdens on state budgets
that have forced us to make hard decisions. In spite of that, we have produced
a spending plan that does not increase our reliance on the Pennsylvania
taxpayer to be in balance. It does not raise taxes or create new ones, and does
not incur new debt.”
a deficit that exceeded $1 billion dollars, we were able to craft this budget
by transferring excess balances from existing state funds,” Smith said. “As opposed to imposing new or expanded
taxes that could have had a detrimental impact on the state’s economy, we chose
to live within our means by reallocating funds in current accounts to cover our
added that the transfer from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund will not impact
the current activity of the loan fund therefore not taking any money away from
volunteer fire companies. He clarified
that the loan fund is completely separate from the grant program that provides
grants to fire and emergency services through gaming funds. The annual $30 million grant program is not
impacted in any way and not included in any transfers.
Bill 2328 was approved in the House by a vote of 108 - 95.