The State Senate today approved a spending plan for fiscal year 2017-18 that holds the line on spending, increases funding for education and funds core responsibilities of state government, according to Senate Republican Leaders.
Despite massive increases in mandated expenses – including pensions, health care and human services – the overall increase in spending in the proposed budget is just 0.2 percent over the current year, and well below the rate of inflation.
The spending total of $31.996 billion is nearly $650 million less than Governor Wolf’s original budget request and adheres to the approach demanded by taxpayers by controlling state government spending and cutting through expensive layers of bureaucracy.
Along with the fiscally responsible approach to the budget, the spending plan meets the core responsibilities of government and funds key priorities – maintaining a quality education system, promoting job growth and addressing some of the most serious challenges facing Pennsylvania communities.
Senate Republican leaders offered the following statements on House Bill 218, which now goes to the House for consideration:
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25): “This year’s budget required many difficult decisions to be made. While the reality of our fiscal situation makes some spending reductions necessary, we were able to restore a portion of funding to budget lines that are important for all Pennsylvanians. Our goal continues to be protecting taxpayers from broad-based tax increases that have been detrimental to Pennsylvania in the past.”
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34): “The budget adhere to what has been demanded by taxpayers – controlling state government spending while still providing historic education funding and money for other priorities. By putting taxpayers first, we have held the spending increase to less than 1 percent. We have done this in the face of significant fiscal challenges and growth in mandated spending. We look forward to continuing the talks to achieve a revenue package that moves toward bringing more fiscal stability to state government.” Listen
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne (R-16): “In recognizing the financial challenges the Commonwealth continues to face, this budget provides a fiscally-responsible spending plan with a modest increase in funding for vital state programs and services, while still protecting hard working individuals and job creators from onerous tax increases. This budget also continues the state’s dedication to providing a quality education for all Pennsylvania students as it increases funding for basic education, special education, early childhood education and early intervention to unprecedented levels.” Listen