Lancaster GOP House Delegation Votes to Restore Education, Corrections and Ag Funding
HARRISBURG – The Lancaster Republican delegation to the state House of Representatives today joined a strong bipartisan majority of their colleagues to pass House Bill 1801 by a vote of 128-63, a supplemental spending bill that would appropriate an additional $6.05 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year to fully fund the remaining components of the state budget that remain unfunded following several line-item vetoes by Gov. Tom Wolf on Dec. 29.
House Bill 1801 would restore the funds vetoed three times by Gov. Wolf. Under House Bill 1801, the 2015-16 state budget would spend $30.031 billion, a $872.6 million (3 percent) increase over 2014-15 levels.
Basic education spending would increase $200 million, taking the Commonwealth’s investment for public schools to its highest levels ever, a record $10.74 billion. The new money for education would be driven out under the bipartisan basic and special education funding formulas and begin to make whole those school districts that have long been underfunded.
The legislation would also restore funding for the Department of Agriculture – including funding to fight avian flu, 4H and all Penn State Extension programs – which Wolf slashed by 65 percent with his line-item vetoes.
Funding for community colleges, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and state-related universities would also be restored to pre-veto levels.
State Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield) and Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl) issued the following statement following the floor vote on House Bill 1801:
“If Gov. Wolf vetoes this budget, he will be telling Pennsylvanians that he intends to let schools close for lack of money unless he gets $2.8 billion in tax hikes and new taxes, the majority of which would fall on the backs of the middle class.
“Gov. Wolf has also said he wants to start work on a 2016-17 budget even as he continues withholding this education money from our children. We do not agree. Money is still being collected from taxpayers and it is still being deposited in the Pennsylvania Treasury. Wolf’s rhetoric that he must veto our school funding because the budget is unbalanced is simply not true. There is more than enough money in the treasury right now to fully fund all our schools and then some.
“After nine months, Mr. Wolf needs to recognize Pennsylvanians have no appetite for tax hikes and he needs to stop holding our children and funding for agriculture, the state’s No. 1 economic driver as hostages. There is no need for tax hikes. If Mr. Wolf wishes to bring more money into the treasury he should stop holding our schools hostage and join us in putting forth policies that get people back to work and grow our economy.”
Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner