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Day Pleased with No Tax Increase, On-Time, Fiscally Responsible State Budget
6/29/2011

Rep. Gary Day (R-Berks/Lehigh) said today that the new state budget for 2011-12, which passed the House, refocuses government’s priorities back to the taxpayer while seeing that the Commonwealth’s most critical needs are met. 

“This budget represents a delicate but necessary balance between the revenues we have available and the priorities we need to fund,” said Day, noting the budget comes in at $27.15 billion, or 4 percent less than the 2010-11 spending plan. “We knew that with the loss of federal stimulus funding and a $4 billion structural deficit, achieving an on-time, fiscally responsible budget would be an uphill struggle. Fortunately, we were able to accomplish that task, and put our Commonwealth back on a path of financial stability.” 

From the governor’s original proposal in March, Day said that he and his colleagues had major concerns about the reductions in education funding, both for basic and higher education. Significant cuts were proposed, reflected by the loss of federal stimulus funding, but by reprioritizing education over welfare, restorations were made. 

In total, basic and higher education will receive a total of $10 billion, or one-third of the total state budget. Schools will receive no less than the state funding they received in the 2008-09 fiscal year and will be able to again take advantage of the highly successful Accountability Block Grant program, where $100 million will be available. 

Also of considerable concern was funding for the State System of Higher Education, of which Kutztown University is a member, and the state-related schools like Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln. Instead of the 50 percent-plus reductions in state funding, the schools will receive 82 percent and 81 percent, respectively, of the funding they received for 2010-11. 

This is being made possible by a reprioritization of funding that was originally directed to the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). By adjusting DPW’s line items to address the documented error rate, as well as cases of waste, fraud and abuse, $404 million will be redirected to education funding. The department will still receive more than $10.5 billion to provide services to the most vulnerable citizens. 

In agriculture-related items, funding for the Penn State Agriculture Extension Offices and the agriculture research program are being transferred from the university’s overall state funding to the Department of Agriculture, where Day said they rightfully belong. Just a few years ago, these programs were only combined with Penn State as a matter of practicality for federal stimulus funding.  

“Although this budget was a challenging process and many programs and services will not be funded at the levels they may have been in the past, I believe the new spending plan reflects an appropriate compromise that takes into account the recurring revenue we have available to us with the priorities we have to fund,” Day said. 

The general appropriations bill now moves to the governor for his signature. 

State Representative Gary Day
187th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
717.705.2094
RepGaryDay.com
Facebook.com/RepGaryDay

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