The Senate today (June 25) approved a $40.8 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22 that maintains state funding for agricultural programs and services, supports Pennsylvania’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and provides a financial safety net for the future, according to Senator Elder Vogel.
Senate Bill 255, which now goes to the governor’s desk for enactment into law, restores the cuts in funding for health care and agricultural programs and services the governor proposed in February.
“I am also pleased that we were able to restore state support for all vital agricultural programs and services,” said Senator Vogel, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. “This includes our research programs, livestock and dairy shows, food marketing programs and others that benefit our farming community. In addition, the budget increases state funding for the State Food Purchase Program by $3 million to nearly $22.7 million. The pandemic proved the value of that program and it certainly deserved this increase in funding.”
The fiscally responsible budget does not include any of the tax increases proposed by the governor in February — including a 46% Personal Income Tax hike or the imposition of a Marcellus Shale Extraction tax.
Senate Republicans recognize the importance of all Pennsylvania schools and the vital role they play in ensuring today’s students are given the tools to be competitive in the 21st Century global marketplace and be productive members of our communities. To that end, the budget includes $300 million more for Basic Education Funding, $50 million more for Special Education, $25 million more for Pre-K programs and $5 million more for Head Start.
The budget also sends a projected FY 2020-21 revenue surplus of $2.5 billion to the state Rainy Day Fund to provide a financial safety net.
“We were fortunate that Pennsylvania’s financial outlook has improved somewhat over the past few months. We still have a long way to go, but at least we have charted a course that maintains vital state services and programs, increases support for schools without raising taxes, and invests in our Rainy Day Fund,” Senator Vogel said.
CONTACT: Cara Laudenslager email@example.com