Answers to questions about the partial state budget
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday vetoed portions of a long overdue state budget plan, while releasing more than $23 billion for certain programs. Some answers to questions about the partial state budget and what did and did not happen:
Q: Have any taxes been increased in this budget?
A: No. The Wolf administration says the GOP’s $30.3 billion plan lacks sufficient revenue and that full implementation would leave a budget hole of more than $2 billion by the end of the next fiscal year.
Q: What appropriations did the governor approve?
A: Wolf released $23.4 billion in spending. That included $2.5 billion in overdue basic school subsidies — less than half of a full-year appropriation — and $1 billion for special education. Funding also was limited to a half-year for state prisons and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals. The governor cut funding for legislative operations by about $30 million for the Senate and $20 million for the House.
Q: What has happened to funding for state-related universities?
A: It remains in limbo. Legislation to send annual subsidies of nearly $600 million to Penn State, Temple, Pitt and Lincoln, as well as the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school, is pending in the House but without any source of money to cover the payments.
Q: What has happened to government pensions?
A: Legislation to restructure benefits for state government and public school employees was passed by the Senate but then underwent changes in the House, where it was ultimately defeated. The proposal would create a mandatory 401(k) style benefit for future employees while placing new limits on current employees.
Q. What’s next?
A. Neither the House nor Senate plan sessions this week.