HARRISBURG – Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) today voted in favor of a $30.18 billion state budget plan that includes $200 million in additional education funding over last year and fully funds vital human services with no new or increased taxes.
“This budget reflects the reality that the people of Pennsylvania and their representatives in the Legislature support a government that fully funds its obligations, increases its investments in education and controls costs to hard-working families and taxpayers,” Heffley said.
The $30.18 billion balanced budget proposal eliminates the state’s $1.2 billion structural deficit and represents a 3.6 percent increase over last year’s budget without increasing existing taxes or creating new ones. Gov. Tom Wolf, by contrast, proposed a $33.8 billion budget that represented a 16 percent spending increase over last year, supported by $8 billion in new taxes in the first two years. Not a single Republican or Democratic House member voted for the governor’s tax plan when it was considered earlier this year.
“Unlike the governor’s proposal, this budget does not include any new or increased taxes, but it does restore funding to vital programs and services, such as hospital-based burn centers, neonatal services, critical access hospitals, diabetes programs, regional poison control centers, epilepsy support and bio-tech research – all of which the governor proposed to cut,” Heffley said.
In total, the budget plan calls for nearly $11 billion in education funding, a 3.5 percent increase over last year. That includes an additional $100 million for basic education; $25 million for pre-K Counts and $5 million for Headstart; $20 million for special education; $5 million for the Education Improvement Tax Credit; $41 million for higher education; and $2.1 million for the Mobile Science and Math Education programs line item, which Wolf eliminated in his budget proposal.
The plan also increases funding to vital human services programs, including an additional $2.4 million (or 10 percent increase) for domestic violence and rape crisis programs; $2.7 million (or 6.5 percent increase) for drug and alcohol programs; and $127.8 million (or 11.9 percent increase) for the intellectual disabilities community waiver program, which provides services and support to help people with intellectual disabilities live more independently in their homes and communities.
“This budget will move Pennsylvania forward by ensuring that state government lives within its means, invests in our future and fully funds essential programs and services,” Heffley said. “By passing the House today, this plan is on track to land on the governor’s desk by the June 30 deadline.
“Despite the governor’s comment that he is not ‘preoccupied’ with passing an on-time budget, he has a constitutional obligation to do so,” Heffley added. “While the governor is not concerned with passing an on-time budget, thousands of Pennsylvanians who rely on state funding are depending on him to stop playing games and join the General Assembly in working to ensure that their access to vital government services and programs remains uninterrupted. I strongly urge the governor to support hard-working Pennsylvania workers and families by signing this budget.”
Representative Doyle Heffley
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jonathan Anzur