- Associated Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

Highlights of a bipartisan spending plan for Pennsylvania state government’s 2017-18 budget year that starts Saturday:

THE BIG PICTURE

It increases spending through the state’s main bank account to almost $32 billion. The governor’s office counts the spending increase in the new fiscal year as $54 million, or 0.2 percent, using a baseline of more than $31.9 billion. That means that spending in the just-ending fiscal year rose 6 percent.

Using the state’s last enacted budget figure of just over $31.5 billion as a baseline for both fiscal years, the budget package approves an extra $870 million more in spending, or almost 3 percent. That includes approximately $410 million more going on the just-ending fiscal year’s books and $460 million more on the new fiscal year’s books. Wolf had initially proposed a budget of about $32.3 billion in February, including $1 billion in new spending when counting approximately $230 million being requested for the just-ending fiscal year.

The package lacks legislation to fully fund it. It requires more than $2 billion in yet-to-be-identified cash to balance, according to lawmakers. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to universities is awaiting passage until lawmakers pass a revenue plan.

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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.

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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.

- Increases state-owned university aid by $9 million, an increase of 2 percent to $453 million; otherwise holds higher education funding flat at $1.6 billion.

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DEPARTMENT SPENDING

- EDUCATION: Grows 3.5 percent to $12.2 billion.

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

- PENSIONS: Grows 6 percent to approximately $4.3 billion

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

-STATE POLICE: Grows almost 7 percent to more than $1.3 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.

- OPIOID AND HEROIN RESPONSE: Grows 19 percent to almost $76 million.


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