HARRISBURG – The new 2017-18 state budget that the House passed today takes a historic step toward reinventing the way state government operates, said Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest). The plan is now on the governor’s desk.
“Local taxpayers expect that the tax money they send to Harrisburg be sent back to our local communities to help fund our schools and assist those most in need,” said Oberlander. “They do not expect it to fund a state bureaucracy, and this budget resets that direction. As part of our overall budget package, we’re looking to eliminate duplications in several state agencies, which will both save time and money.”
The $32 billion budget is lower than the proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf in March and less than 1 percent higher than the current fiscal year, which ended on Friday. The new budget seeks to continue a historic investment in education, dedicates funds to those with the greatest human services needs, and funds public safety efforts.
This budget also sends a historic amount back to public schools. With education as the second highest expenditure every year, $11.86 billion will be spent for prekindergarten through 12th grade, along with modest increases for higher and special education. Part of this budget also restores student transportation, which the governor sought to cut, and that would have been especially harmful in rural areas like the 63rd District.
The new budget also does not rely on broad-based tax increases, such as an income or sales tax hike, and keeps many of the spending reductions included in the House’s original budget plan from April.
Oberlander noted that Friday’s vote on the general appropriations bill is just one of many parts to the overall budget package. Negotiations are continuing over the next few days to finalize details on the remaining pieces.
Representative Donna Oberlander
Pennsylvania House of Representatives