Improving National Economy Leads to On-Time State Budget, Reed Says
HARRISBURG –  For the first time in four years, the annual state budget was signed into law on time, Majority Leader, Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana) said today. The improvement in the national economy and holding the line over the past three years on state spending has helped put Pennsylvania on a solid path to financial stability.

“Dealing with a budget deficit in excess of over $2 billion just a few years ago, we now have a budget that spends below the rate of inflation, significantly increases our investment in schools, colleges, and now includes a specific focus on career and technical education programs, without any tax or fee increases. And this year, for the first time since 2006, we are making a deposit in the state’s Rainy Day Fund,” Reed said. “Importantly, our ambulance services will also see an increase in reimbursement rates for the first time in years.”

The $32.7 billion spending plan is just 1.7 percent higher than last year’s budget – an increase that is below the rate of inflation.

The 2018-19 budget invests $450 million more for preK-12 education, bringing total state spending for Pennsylvania schools to a record-high $12.3 billion. Included is a $30 million increase for career and technical education as well as $60 million for grants to school districts to address school violence.

All schools in Indiana County will receive additional state funding, totaling $90 million, under the spending plan for Basic Education, Special Education and Ready-To-Learn Block Grants. The budget also provides the state’s share of district Social Security and pension expenses.

This year’s budget will provide local school districts with the following funding amounts:
•    Blairsville-Saltsburg – $14.8 million, a funding increase of $325,499.
•    Homer-Center – $8.2 million, a funding increase of $197,754.
•    Indiana Area – $17.1 million, a funding increase of $682,274.
•    Marion Center – $13.7 million, a funding increase of $345,151.
•    Penns Manor Area – $10.3 million, a funding increase of $185,590.
•    Purchase Line – $12.1 million, a funding increase of $192,731.
•    United – $12.1 million, a funding increase of $226,082.

Higher education will also see increases. Pennsylvania’s state-related universities and community colleges will get a 3 percent increase, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will get 3.3 percent more. It is hoped these colleges and universities use the increase in state funding solely to make higher education more affordable for Pennsylvania students and control tuition, fees or room and board charges.

This budget, according to Reed, includes $4 million in state funds, and $7.3 million in federal funds, for a reimbursement rate increase for our EMS agencies.

Other key increases include about $7 million more for the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection; and about $8 million more for the departments of Health and Veterans Affairs.

House Bill 2121 passed the House by a vote 188-10, and the Senate by a vote of 47-2. The state’s fiscal year begins July 1. More information is available here.

Representative Dave Reed, Majority Leader
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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