- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Highlights of the main budget bill passed Thursday by the Pennsylvania Legislature, hours before the start of the state government’s 2016-17 fiscal year. Other pieces of the budget package, including revenues to balance it, remain in the works.

__

THE BIG PICTURE

The budget would increase spending through the state’s main bank account to just over $31.5 billion. That is an increase of $1.5 billion, or 5 percent, from the state’s prior enacted budget. The full spending authorization is an increase of $1.7 billion, or almost 6 percent, including $95 million in capital project funding moved into an off-budget program and approximately $100 million in supplemental spending approved for the just-finished fiscal year. The state also must pay new obligations on school construction bonds that could be issued soon.

Wolf had initially proposed a budget of nearly $33.3 billion. Budget makers reduced that by moving $400 million in capital project funding off budget, scaling back more than $300 million in discretionary spending on education, and cutting nearly $700 million from the Department of Human Services, in part by revising caseload projections and putting off planned initiatives. Annual debt obligations were about $100 million less than projected because of delays in issuing bonds during the past year’s budget impasse.

STATE TAXES

Budget makers projected that, under current law, the state will collect $31.6 billion in taxes and fees, before paying $1.3 billion in refunds. However, they have projected a hole of more than $1 billion in the spending plan, and there was no agreement on how to fill it.

They also have not identified a way to pay for capital project funding and school construction funding programs that will no longer be funded through the state’s main bank account.

SPECIFICS

- Increases spending in the Department of Human Services by $537.3 million, or nearly 5 percent, to nearly $12 billion.

- Increases spending on pension obligations by about $450 million, or 5 percent, to $2.6 billion.

- Increases aid for public school operations and instruction by $200 million, an increase of 3 percent to $6.1 billion.

- Increases spending in the Department of Corrections by $153 million, or 7 percent, to nearly $2.4 billion.

- Increases aid to higher education, including state system universities, state-related universities, student grants and community colleges, by $39 million, or 2.5 percent, to above $1.6 billion.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide