HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Latest on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal (all times local):
Republican lawmakers are pushing back on Democratic Gov. Wolf’s election-year proposal for a new Marcellus Shale natural gas tax and a $1 billion spending increase.
House Majority Leader Dave Reed said Tuesday he likes Wolf’s plan to boost aid to computer and industrial skills training. But Reed also says Wolf’s spending proposal contains questionable components that will lead to tax future increases.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman says he’s disappointed Wolf isn’t seeking more money for state-related universities, like his hometown Penn State, and community colleges. But Corman says lawmakers will have to reduce Wolf’s spending level because he doesn’t expect them to approve new sources of money.
Three weeks of budget hearings begin Feb. 20.
Wolf’s budget proposal would boost spending by 3 percent to $33 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The higher spending would go toward public schools, skills training, pension obligations, prisons and social services.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s election-year budget plan will renew battles with Republican lawmakers over imposing a Marcellus Shale natural gas tax and increasing the minimum wage.
Wolf’s budget delivered Tuesday to the Republican-controlled Legislature would boost spending by about $1 billion, or 3 percent, to $33 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The higher spending would go toward public schools, skills training, pension obligations, prison costs and social services for children, the elderly and disabled.
It would rely on money from a new Marcellus Shale tax and savings in human services programs from increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour, up from the federal minimum of $7.25. It also expects a big expansion of lottery games.
Wolf’s administration otherwise expects no deficit next year, despite some independent projections of a gap.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s forthcoming budget plan will rely on improving tax collections and a Marcellus Shale natural gas tax to put more money into Pennsylvania’s public schools, skills training, opioid-addiction prevention and social services.
Wolf is scheduled to deliver his election-year budget and speak to a joint legislative session Tuesday morning.
The governor’s plan would boost spending by about 3 percent, to almost $33 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Wolf’s fourth and final first-term budget proposal comes after three years dominated by protracted stalemates with the Republican-controlled Legislature. Things could be smoother this year, with revenue growth expected to pick up and key cost pressures easing.
Wolf is running for re-election this year.