2014-15 Pa. Budget Highlights
Here are some highlights of the Republican-crafted spending plan for fiscal 2014-15, which starts Tuesday. Some major spending items, such as aid to hospitals for treating the poor and uninsured, remained unclear because a major companion budget bill had not been unveiled Monday.
Comparisons are to the budget approved for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The big picture
Generates $29.6 billion through taxes, fees, and other revenue sources, an increase of $1 billion, or 3.5 percent.
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 outside institutions from five years to three, generating $150 million in onetime 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.
No increase in aid to public schools for basic instructional and operational costs.
Provides $100 million in new money for Gov. Corbett's proposed "Ready to Learn" block grant program, which 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 preschool programs for nearly 1,700 additional children.
Accounts for an anticipated $610 million increase in the state's share of pension costs 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: Corbett administration, Senate Republicans, 2014-15 state budget documents.
- Associated Press