House advances “responsible” budget

The temporary budget was developed in response to the unique circumstances facing the Commonwealth

As Pennsylvanians are facing one of the most challenging years in a lifetime, the House of Representatives said it is advancing a responsible, temporary budget that was developed in response to the unique circumstances facing the Commonwealth.

On Tuesday, the House passed a temporary budget that appropriates state funding for the next five months. The General Assembly will appropriate the final seven months of the fiscal year later in 2020.

“Every Pennsylvanian is making sacrifices as a result of this pandemic and a two-part budget for this year reflects those sacrifices and provides stability and certainty to millions of Pennsylvanians,” said House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster). “We cannot project the impact on state revenues due to the statewide business shutdown and moving the state tax deadline to July 15. This budget plan allows us to keep the state operating efficiently now, and responsibly fund all programs in the future.”

The plan passed in House Bill 2387 does include some 12-month appropriations, including to statewide education. PreK through 12th grade, special education, career and technical education and higher education line items are all fully funded for the next year.

“Our constituents – parents and students – and we as legislators fully expect schools to open in the fall and keep them open all year,” said Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). “We support fully funding education, expecting students to be back in the classroom. Further, the Department of Education, our intermediate units and the school districts need to provide students with underlying medical or special needs with Individualized Education Programs suited to their needs.

“Further, our state-related universities, state system universities and private independent universities and colleges are a key component to reviving the economy and educating our students for the 21st century workforce. Those institutions need to bring students back to their campuses.”

The general appropriation for the temporary budget is $25.8 billion, with level funding throughout the budget based on current year numbers.

“Every decision we’ve made, and every offer we brought to the table with the Senate and administration, has been based on data,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York). “House Republicans have led the way in helping businesses, workers, families and schools recover from the wide-spread impact of this pandemic. This responsible budget approach is a continuation of those efforts.”

The General Appropriation bill, and more than a dozen separate appropriations bills, advance to the Senate for further consideration.