STATEMENT: On the General Assembly Passage of the General Appropriations Bill

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Director Marc Stier made the following statement after the General Assembly passed a budget spending plan that will now be sent to Governor Wolf:

"When Governor Wolf released his budget proposal in March, we noted that his plan had the right priorities but, given the political realities he faced, understandably did not put forward initiatives bold enough to close the deep public investment deficit in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians should feel the same about the general appropriations bill that passed through the General Assembly today.

"The new budget provides welcome new investments in pre-K and K-12 education, special education, higher education, workforce training, child care, treatment for substance abuse disorder, and intellectual disabilities. These are all welcome initiatives, although in many cases they are far less than we think Pennsylvania needs.

"That these new investments are smaller than they should be is largely due to the failure of the General Assembly to take needed steps toward increasing general fund revenues from those most able to afford it. There is no shale tax, no corporate tax reform, and no fee for local governments that rely on the State Police instead of local police forces. It also fails Pennsylvania’s working families by excluding an increase in the minimum wage. In the region, Pennsylvania will remain the state with the lowest minimum wage.

"This budget takes steps in the right direction and rightfully funds many of Governor Wolf’s priorities. But by leaving so many gaps in funding for education, higher education, human services, and infrastructure and the environment, it is not the budget that Pennsylvania really needs."