Contact Information 

District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776

E-Mail:  
smentzer@pahousegop.com

State Budget Report
9/9/2016
By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)

Last year at this time, lawmakers and the governor were locked in an extended budget impasse, due primarily to Gov. Tom Wolf insisting on billions in new sales and income taxes. Though the governor initially proposed similar hikes this year, he appeared to receive the message – even if only temporarily – that citizens of Pennsylvania are taxed enough.

As a result of public pressure, Gov. Wolf backed away from his demands in June, allowing a compromise budget to be enacted and avoiding a repeat of last year’s prolonged stalemate.

The newly enacted 2016-17 budget contains $11.7 billion for pre-K-12 education – the highest investment ever – and accomplished without the sales and income tax increases initially proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf. New education dollars will be driven out using the new funding formula developed by the bipartisan, bicameral Basic Education Funding Commission.

The final $31.6 billion spending plan came in nearly $2 billion below than the governor’s initial proposal. Due to federal mandates, required pension payment increases, and higher corrections and health care costs, the Commonwealth required $1.2 billion in new revenue.

This was achieved in part by adopting $675 million in spending cuts to state welfare programs, along with proceeds from wine privatization and a new tax amnesty program
to collect past due taxes. Required funding increases included:

• County child welfare costs: $171 million.
• Phase-in of school employees’ Social Security: $55 million.
• $44 million for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is being shifted back to the General Fund from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund.
• Nearly $300 million of $466 million in new money for the Department of Human Services (total of $11.9 billion) is required spending by the federal government.
• An additional $153 million is needed to fund the Department of Corrections. • Additional funding to the Pennsylvania State Police is $11 million.
• Payments to PSERS for school employee pensions accounted for $345 million (20.1 percent) in new spending to a total of over $2 billion.
• State employee pensions required an additional $140 million (22 percent) in General Fund spending for a total of $770 million (an additional $1 billion comes from other non-General Fund sources: the Motor License Fund, federal funds and other special funds and accounts).

This is the first year in nearly 12 years that the state is fully paying its required pension obligations – a necessary step for the long-term health of the Commonwealth and the stability of pension systems.

For more information about the budget, including a line-byline listing of expenditures, please visit pabudget.com.
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