Key Points from Senate Budget Hearings Thursday, March 3

HARRISBURG – The Department of Agriculture and state-related universities were the subjects of Senate Appropriations Committee public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget Thursday.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.

Thursday’s hearings:

Department of Agriculture

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chair Elder Vogel (R-47) questioned Gov. Wolf’s plan to zero out animal health budget lines, and discussed avian flu concerns and mental health support for farmers.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) told Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding that natural gas is a key ingredient for nitrogen-based fertilizers critical for growing corn, wheat and other crops, and discussed how energy independence is about more than affordable energy.

State-Related Universities

Tuition at Temple University, Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University was a key topic discussed. The committee heard that competing states are taking Pennsylvania students because of the discounts they offer.

Of note was Temple University’s efforts to graduate students in four years, which is critical to making higher education affordable amid rising tuition costs.

You can find livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.

 

CONTACT: Matt Moyer mmoyer@pasen.gov