By The Associated Press
July 2, 2012
Highlights of Pennsylvania’s $27.7 billion state budget for the fiscal year that began Sunday. The Legislature finalized the budget Saturday night after a marathon day of debating and voting.
THE BIG PICTURE:
• On paper, state spending increases by $471 million, or 1.7 percent, from this year’s $27.1 billion. Corbett had proposed holding spending level, but agreed to the increase because of improving tax collections. In reality, state spending increases by $371 million, or 1.4 percent, because of public school grants that were spent in 2011-12, but retroactively budgeted in 2010-11.
• No change in the state income or sales taxes.
• Several tax cuts for businesses would be folded into companion legislation, including the continuation of the ongoing phaseout of the capital stock and franchise tax and expanded tax credits for businesses that contribute to groups that can provide scholarships to private schools.
• $10.6 billion, an increase of less than 0.5 percent, for the Department of Public Welfare, which includes health care for the poor, child care and services for the disabled.
• $5.4 billion, a 0.9 percent increase, for instruction and operations in public school districts.
• $1.9 billion, no change, for Corrections Department.
• $1.1 billion, a 5 percent increase, for payments on debt.
• $856 million, a 43 percent increase, for school employee pensions.
• $542 million, a 0.7 per increase, for public school pupil transportation.
• $345 million, a 9.5 percent decrease, in financial assistance for college students. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency would raise its subsidy from $50 million to $75 million to keep funding level.
• $413 million, no change, for the 14 state-owned universities in the State System of Higher Education.
• $272 million for the Legislature, a 0.3 percent decrease that preserves $12 million Corbett had proposed to cut.
• $212 million, no change, for community colleges, for which Corbett had proposed a $10 million increase.
• $100 million, no change, for “accountability” grants that help pay for full-day kindergarten in public schools. Corbett had proposed eliminating the program.
• $228 million, no change, for Penn State University.
• $136 million, no change, for the University of Pittsburgh.
• $140 million, no change, for Temple University.
• $319 million in savings from the proposed elimination of cash payments for about 70,000 participants in the General Assistance program and new minimum work requirements for about 30,000 General Assistance recipients who are medically needy.
Sources: Senate GOP, House GOP, state budget documents.