Budget Hearings Summary

Senate Appropriations Committee Budget Hearings and Videos
FY 2019-2020

A daily summary of budget hearings, with key issues and hearing video.


Tuesday, March 5 | 3:00 p.m.


Wednesday, March 6 | 1:00 p.m.

Banking & Securities – (CANCELLED)

Wednesday, February 20 | 3:00 p.m.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Wednesday, March 6 | 3:00 p.m.

Corrections/Probation and Parole

Thursday, February 28 | 10:00 a.m.

Community and Economic Development)

Thursday, March 7 | 1:00 p.m.

Conservation and Natural Resources)

Monday, March 4 | 3:00 p.m.

Drug & Alcohol

Monday, March 4 | 10:00 a.m.

Environmental Protection)

Thursday, February 28 | 3:00 p.m.

General Services)

Monday, February 25 | 1:00 p.m.


Tuesday, March 5 | 10:00 a.m. Continued at 1:00 p.m.


(Dept. of Health)

Wednesday, February 27 at 10:00 a.m.

Human Services

(Dept. of Human Services)

Wednesday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. continued at 3:00 p.m.

Independent Fiscal Office

Tuesday, February 19 | 1:00 p.m.


Social media share link: https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/6kif10ei31

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee questioned Independent Fiscal Office Director Matthew Knittel about:

  • Growing concerns about the national economic outlook and how that slowdown could impact PA.
  • Special funds that function outside of the state budget and what happens when reserves are built up.
  • What Pennsylvania is doing in terms of tax policies to attract and retain businesses and create new jobs.
  • The effect of using newly implemented performance-based budgeting.
  • The impact of a minimum wage increase on first-time job holders, including high school and college students.
  • The impact of public policy decisions on population demographics and economic development.
  • How new video gaming terminals will affect lottery sales.
  • How changes in federal tax law has impacted state programs.

Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission/Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Thursday, February 28 | 4:00 p.m.


Tuesday, February 26 | 1:00 p.m.

Labor and Industry

Monday, February 25 | 10:00 a.m.

Life Sciences Greenhouses/Life Sciences PA

Monday, March 4 | 1:00 p.m.

Liquor Control Board

Thursday, February 28 | 1:00 p.m.

Military and Veterans Affairs

Wednesday, March 6 | 10:00 a.m.

PA College of Technology

Tuesday, February 26 | 3:00 p.m.

PA Gaming Control Board

Thursday, March 7 | 10:00 a.m.

PA Historical & Museum Commission – (CANCELLED)

Wednesday, February 20 | 1:00 p.m.

PEMA/Fire Commissioner

Thursday, February 21 | 3:00 p.m.

PA State System of Higher Education

Thursday, February 21 | 10:00 a.m.

Public Utility Commission

Tuesday, February 19 | 3:00 p.m.


Social media share link: https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/z7xlydv6ie

The Senate Appropriations Committee discussed the following issue with Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown and commissioners:

  • Assessment fees on the regulated utilities, which funds the PUC.
  • The ongoing need for reliable broadband in rural areas.
  • Outdated regulations on telecommunication carriers of last resort.
  • Nuclear energy, and the effect of not including nuclear energy in state Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards.
  • Steps being taken to ensure the safety of communities located near natural gas pipelines.
  • The high cost of renewable energy and how making energy more expensive would make Pennsylvania businesses less competitive and cost local jobs. 
  • What the PUC can do for the estimated 11 million PA residents without access to high-speed internet.
  • Increasing the number of gas pipeline safety inspectors.
  • The collection and dispersal of natural gas impact fees, and the installation of utility “smart meters.”
  • The cost of the PUC taking over the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and the response by customers.
  • The level of investment by gas companies in upgrading pipelines delivering gas to homes.


Tuesday, February 19 | 10:00 a.m.


Social media share link: https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/rbckjtlmvk

The Senate Appropriations Committee opened its three-weeks of hearings on the Governor’s proposed 2019-20 budget with a session with state Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell. Topics discussed during the hearing include:

  • Cost savings from the Revenue Department’s technology modernization project.
  • The Governor’s proposed combined reporting requirement for businesses.
  • Public confidence in the lottery system.
  • Taxation of craft brewers.
  • Request for Proposals (RFPs) for I-lottery and scratch-off games.
  • The state’s vendor for lottery printing services missing deadlines for products.
  • Income limits for the Property Tax Rent Rebate program.
  • Job losses from the Governor’s proposal to increase the minimum wage.
  • Tax collection from online sales
  • Advertising costs for lottery scratch-off tickets.
  • Minimum salary of $45,000 for teachers.
  • The impact of federal tax changes on the PA 592 and ABLE programs.
  • Taxes on marijuana.
  • Pennsylvania’s tax credit programs
  • Changes in the enhanced revenue account since it was set up.
  • The feasibility of economic development incentives, such as tax credits, that are revenue-neutral.
  • Updates to the tax code and keeping it current with the modern economy.


Wednesday, February 20 | 10:00 a.m.

The committee discussed the following topics with Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar:

  • The Administration’s mandate that counties replace voting machines, reimbursement to counties, and the makeup of the group advising the department on the issue. 
  • Changes to the state licensing system aimed at decreasing processing times, and help for veterans transitioning to civilian life.
  • The possibility of providing voters with post-vote verification at the polls.
  • The need to make the lobbying disclosure process fully-funded by fees paid by lobbyists, and eliminate the use General Fund tax dollars.
  • Background checks for former inmates seeking a state barber license and the need to provide access to jobs to reduce recidivism.
  • The need to review the state Election Code for updates and improvements.

State Police/Homeland Security

Thursday, February 21 | 1:00 p.m.

State Related Universities

Tuesday, February 26 | 10:00 a.m.

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Tuesday, February 26 | 4:00 p.m.


Monday, February 25 | 3:00 p.m.

Budget Secretary/Gov’s Executive Office (If Necessary)

Thursday, March 7 | 3:00 p.m.