Highlights of Republicans' 2014-15 budget plan headed toward final votes in Legislature


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Organizations:

Subjects:

Places:

 


HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Highlights of the Republican-crafted spending plan for the 2014-15 year that starts Tuesday. The main appropriations bill passed the Senate, 26-24, and the House, 108-95. Some major revenue and spending items remained unclear because companion budget legislation was just emerging Monday night. Comparisons are to the budget approved for the 2013-14 fiscal year:

THE BIG PICTURE

— Increases spending by $723 million, or 2.5 percent, to $29.1 billion over the current year's approved budget. Counting another $220 million that it would add to the books of the 2013-14 fiscal year that ends Monday, the entire package is a $943 million increase, or about 3.3 percent.

— Generates $29.6 billion through taxes, fees and other revenue sources, an increase of $1 billion, or 3.5 percent.

TAXES/REVENUES

— Contains no new taxes.

— Continues to phase out the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, which was targeted for elimination this year but is now slated to expire in 2016.

— Reduces the time period in which unclaimed property must be held by institutions and businesses from five years to three, generating $150 million in one-time revenue.

— Calls for the extraction of natural gas from beneath state-owned parks and forests through drilling on private, adjacent lands that does not require any surface impact on public lands, generating $95 million in immediate revenue and additional future royalties.

— Relies on more than $700 million from off-budget lottery sales, legal settlement money paid by tobacco companies and revenue from oil and gas drilling on state lands.

— Transfers $100 million from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund and $100 million from the Small Business First Fund.

— Postpones the payment of nearly $400 million to providers of medical care and mental health services under Medicaid.

— Transfers $75 million from fees paid by the state's licensed casino owners.

EDUCATION

— Does not increase $5.5 billion in basic education funding to public schools for instructional and operational costs.

— Provides $100 million in new money for Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed new "Ready to Learn" block grant program that will provide a menu of options that guide school districts on how they can use the money.

— Increases special education funding by $20 million.

— Increases funding for school construction by $10 million.

— Increases spending on early-childhood education by $10 million, providing access to pre-school programs for nearly 1,700 additional children.

PENSIONS

— Sets aside $1.67 billion, an increase of about $555 million, to pay the state's share of pension obligations for state and school employees.

— Transfers $225 million in private equity investments and cash reserves from the Tobacco Settlement Fund and Health Venture Investment account to the school employees' pension fund to help reduce the state's pension obligations.

HEALTH CARE/SOCIAL SERVICES

— Increases aid for county welfare assistance offices by $40 million to $499 million.

— Projects $125 million in first-year savings from changes to the state's Medicaid program that still require federal approval.

— Increases funding by 50 percent for the Community-Based Health Care Program, providing $2 million for four new facilities.

— Increases funding for the Department of Public Welfare operations, county assistance offices, information systems by $69 million to $499 million.

— Increases funding for mental health services by $41 million to $732 million.

— Increases funding for county child welfare services by $28 million to $1.08 billion.

— Increases funding for services for Medicaid-eligible people with intellectual disabilities by $40 million to nearly $1.07 billion.

LAW AND ORDER

— Increases funding for Pennsylvania State Police operations and cadet classes by nearly $15 million to $205 million.

— Increases funding for the Department of Corrections by $97 million to $2.06 billion.


Sources: Senate Republicans, House and Senate Democrats, 2014-15 state budget documents.

All content copyright ©2014 Daily Reporter, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Click here to read our privacy policy.
Daily Reporter • 22 W. New Road • Greenfield, IN 46140 • (317) 462-5528