HARRISBURG, Pa.- Governor Tom Wolf unveils his $36 billion budget for 2020-2021. That's about $2 billion more than last years budget. The governor says there will be no new tax increases and his budget accounts for expects growth in sales and personal income tax. Yet, republicans are not happy with the extra $2 billion in this year's budget.
"This year's budget offers us a chance to make our workforce stronger," said Governor Tom Wolf. "To make our schools better and make our schools better and communities safer."
A big focus for Governor Wolf in the 2020-21 fiscal year is education. His proposals include:
- Universal, free, full-day kindergarten for all students
- An increase of the minimum teacher salary to $45,000
- Charter School Law reform, allowing districts to save about $280 million
- Moving $204 million from the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Trust Fund to provide tuition assistance to full-time PASSHE students who agree to stay in the state for the same number of years they received the assistance
"That means 25,000 PASSHE students will get a degree without a crushing debt. Let's spend on our kids instead of bankrolling race horse owners and ensure the viability of the pennsylvania state system of higher education."
Outside of education, Governor Wolf plans to make continued investments in the workforce, gun safety, healthcare, and the environment. Republicans are not happy with the increased spending. They are though eager to get to work and find common ground on the governor's proposal.
"What we will do is go back to the recipe for success, pull him [governor] back to the middle," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, (R) Centre, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin Counties. "Get a fiscally responsible budget that does not ask the taxpayers to invest more in state government that way we can unleash our employers in the state to employ more people by keeping taxes low, and getting rid of burdensome regulations."
Negotiations on the budget will begin in the coming weeks. It will need to be passed by July 1st, 2020. More on the entire budget proposal can be found here.