In the final week of the month, legislators in the House and Senate moved a package of budget-related bills along to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. The $34 billion state 2019-2020 budget represents a 3.9% increase over the previous year’s budget. The increase provides more funding for schools with no new taxes or fees being necessary. The state’s public schools will see a $160 million increase; plus an additional $50 million for both special education and early childhood education programs.
Thanks in large part to the state seeing revenues outpace their projections over the last several months, the legislature decided to turn all of a projected surplus of at least $250 million from the previous year’s budget over to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Last year was the first deposit into the Rainy Day Fund since 2009, when the state drained it of $755 million amid the Great Recession.
Legislative leaders were also able to provide the additional funding for this year’s budget without a need for new or increased taxes
With the governor’s signature occurring before the July 2 deadline, this will be the second year in a row that the state has passed an on-time budget. The legislature is not expected to return to voting session until September.