Pa. budget has money for schools – Times News Online

Published on July 09, 2022 at 08:29

State lawmakers passed a budget that increases funding for education statewide without raising taxes.

The budget also adds funding for roads and bridges, as well as the state property tax and rent rebate program for seniors.

“It’s a really good budget, it’s a bipartisan budget,” said State Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks.

The $45.2 billion budget was headed to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office Friday night after passing the House and Senate, eight days past the state’s June 30 deadline. This is Wolf’s last budget as governor.

It includes $625 million in new education funding for schools across the state and an additional $225 million in Level Up funding for the 100 most needy districts, including Panther Valley and Tamaqua.

The budget transfers $175 million in annual funding for state police to the general fund, freeing up fuel tax revenue for roads and bridges.

Local lawmakers were the most excited about the money that was not spent in the budget.

$2.1 billion will go to the state’s rainy day fund, bringing it to nearly $5 billion.

“This budget is a spending plan for today and tomorrow,” said State Rep. Jack Rader, R-Monroe.

State Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon, said it would put the state on a solid financial footing going forward. He applauded the budget for paying back $2 billion that the state has borrowed in the past.

“Overall, it’s a good budget. It’s a conservative budget,” he said.

State Representative Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe, said the budget is full of smart policy and government initiatives.

State Sen. John Yudichak, I-Luzerne/Carbon, celebrated the corporate net income tax rate cut, which he said will “unleash a torrent of new private investment to help attract new businesses and new jobs in all parts of our Commonwealth. ”

State Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill, said, Many worthy campaign assets have been adequately funded for programs and services that will benefit Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth.

Knowles said the budget adds $2.1 billion to the Rainy Day Fund, pushing it above $5 billion.

“But in my opinion, we have still spent too much. With the economic forces looming on the horizon, I believe we should and could have practiced even more fiscal restraint in this year’s budget,” he added.

Argall said Gov. Tom Wolf asked to spend “every last penny” in the budget.

Wolf’s proposed budget called for $1.75 billion for K-12 education — while the final budget was just $825 million. He again celebrated the increased funding for education starting this year and throughout his tenure.

“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Wolf said.

Education advocates said the budgeted increase will be a big help for districts.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association said in a statement that the budget “will provide schools with the resources necessary to meet the needs of their students and communities.”

The head of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the union representing teachers in the state, said it was “a historic budget that will benefit students in Pennsylvania.”

The Education Law Center, which represents districts including Panther Valley in a lawsuit against the state over school funding, said the increases don’t go far enough to help create an equal education system across the Commonwealth.

As part of the final budget, local schools will share $8.9 million in new funds, helping to address budget shortfalls that have plagued every local district and prompted some to raise taxes for the 2022-23 school years.

Funding increases for local school districts in the 2022-23 state budget:

Panther Valley, $2,485,685 (includes $893,067 in Level Up funding)

Tamaqua, $1,817,326 (includes $566,860 in Level Up funding)

Pleasant Valley, $1,078,970

Jim Thorpe, $927,629

Weather, $735,483

North of Lehigh, $707,271

Lehighton, 630 $129

Palmerton, $581,184

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