Press Release: PBPC Compares Pennsylvania Senate and House 2015-2016 Budget Proposals

Marc Stier,

PBPC Compares Pennsylvania Senate and House 2015-2016 Budget Proposals

Senate budget provides additional spending much needed by Pennsylvanians in the areas of education and human services.

Read the brief online here

Harrisburg, Pa. - December 10, 2015 - As of today, the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Budget is still not done. Two different budgets are now before the General Assembly. In a policy brief released today, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) takes an initial look at some of the critical differences between SB 1073 which is supported by the Governor, and large majorities of Senate Republicans and Democrats and House Democrats, and HB 1460, which is supported by almost all House Republicans.

Marc Stier, director of PBPC, concludes that “there are critical differences in the spending priorities found in the two budgets, especially with regard to education, human services, and job training and economic development. The Senate budget provides $200 million more than the house budget for basic education funding, $30 million more for early childhood education, and $20 million more for special education. There is also $94 million more for human services in the Senate budget than in the house budget, and $36 million more for economic development and job training.”

Stier added, “In a budget of $30 billion it is sometimes hard to recognize what a difference even $100 million makes. But funding for Pennsylvania’s classrooms remains $572 million below what it was in 2011-2012, and the Senate budget takes a much larger step toward closing that gap than the House budget does. The education funding in the SB 1073 would enable Pennsylvania schools to hire thousands of new teachers, reduce class sizes, and restore or expand, music, and technology programs. Similarly, the additional funding for human services in SB 1073 allows for thousands of therapists, counselors, social workers, and case manager to be hired. These trained professionals provide critical services to our family members and neighbors who truly need assistance.

In a separate brief, PBPC looked at the technical differences in how the Senate and House categorize spending.