- Associated Press - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Highlights of a bipartisan spending plan for the 2017-18 budget year that starts Saturday:

THE BIG PICTURE

-Increases spending through the state’s main bank account to $32 billion. Including approximately $400 million to go on the just-ending fiscal year’s books, the plan approves about $870 million in spending, or almost 3 percent, above the last enacted budget of just over $31.5 billion.

-Lacks legislation to fund it and requires more than $2 billion in yet-to-be-identified cash to balance, according to lawmakers.

SPECIFICS

- Plans to merge the Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole into a new Department of Criminal Justice.

- Plans to merge the Human Services and Health departments, but keep the Aging and Drug and Alcohol Programs departments separate.

EDUCATION

- Increases aid for public school operations and instruction by $100 million, an increase of nearly 2 percent to $6 billion.

- Increases early-childhood education funding by $30 million, an increase of 15 percent to $226 million.

- Increases special education funding by $25 million, an increase of 2 percent to above $1.1 billion.

- Holds higher education funding flat at $1.6 billion.

DEPARTMENT SPENDING

- EDUCATION: Grows 3.5 percent to $12.2 billion.

- HUMAN SERVICES: Cut 2 percent to $12.1 billion.

- PRISONS AND PAROLE: Cut by less than 1 percent to $2.5 billion.

- COURTS: Held flat at $355.5 million.

- GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Grows 5 percent to $325 million.

- ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Cut by less than 1 percent to $148 million.

- ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE: Held flat at $96 million.

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