Pennsylvania state budget (2012-2013)

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Pennsylvania's Gov. Tom Corbett signed the $27.65 billion fiscal year 2013 state budget into law on June 30, 2012, with minutes to spare before the start of the fiscal year.[1] Neither the legislature nor the governor proposed increasing taxes.[2]

The enacted budget can be accessed here.

Highlights of the budget included:

  • 9.34 billion for public K-12 education, $5.4 billion for the basic education funding line item (an increase of $49 million over the fiscal year 2012 budget) and $1.02 billion for special education funding, the same as the fiscal year 2012 budget;[3]
  • $300 million in business-tax cuts;[1]
  • A new version of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, with $50 million for scholarship aid to pupils in the worst-performing schools;[1]
  • 10 percent cut to county services such as drug and alcohol counseling; and[1]
  • Elimination of the cash assistance program.[1]

The fiscal year 2013 budget, which increased spending over fiscal year 2012, included the following additional spending:[1]

2013 state spending increases
Category Spending  % Increase over fiscal year 2012
School employee pensions $856 million 43
Payments on state debt $1.1 billion 5
Judiciary $308 million 3
Public school instruction and operations $5.4 billion 0.9
Public school pupil transportation $542 million 0.7
Department of Public Welfare $10.6 billion 0.5

Legislative proposed budget

The governor wanted a $500 million cushion, but the legislature's proposed budget provided only half of that.[4]

On June 5, 2012, Republican legislative leaders presented the governor with a $27.6 billion spending plan that spent half a billion dollars more than his initial proposal, which included restoring funding to public education, higher education, and social services.[1]

On May 9, 2012, the Senate approved a $27.7 billion fiscal year 2013 budget. It erased many cuts proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett and in fact increased spending by approximately $500 million over fiscal year 2012. It included the governor's proposals for a $275 million business-tax cut and the elimination of the $150 million temporary cash-assistance program for poor adults.[5]

The Senate plan also restored funding to higher education, a portion of cuts to social service programs and adds $100 million dollars to K-12 basic education funding. The Senate planned to use some better-than-expected revenue collections to pay for the extra portions of its budget.[2]

Governor's proposed budget

Gov. Tom Corbett released his proposed $27.13 billion fiscal year 2013 state budget on February 7, 2012. It lowered spending less than a tenth of a percentage point from fiscal year 2012, when the state budget was $27.16 billion. The governor proposed steep cuts to higher education, but did not raise taxes.[6] The higher education cuts included 30 percent cuts in state aid to state-related universities like Penn State, Temple and Pitt, and 20 percent cuts for the state-owned universities, but largely level funds for community colleges and public schools.[7]

Basic education funding for K-12 would have increased from $5.3 billion to $5.4 billion, although pre-K and Head Start funding would be cut, as would $100 million in accountability block grants to schools.[6]

The governor's proposed budget reducced the state vehicle fleet by 1,200 vehicles.[8]

Other highlights of the proposed budget included:

  • Leveling funding for the Department of Corrections for the first time in a decade, increasing the funding for PA Board of Probation and Parole to support transition from incarceration to community, providing funding for volunteer fire companies and providing funding for 115 state police troopers; and[8]
  • Reforming the public welfare system by providing incentives to those who are able to transition from the welfare line to the workforce, providing real relief to our poor and safeguarding taxpayer dollars through the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse.[8]

Gov. Corbett also proposed an overhaul of the state's prisons that was estimated to save more than $263 million over five years.[1]

References