Pennsylvania finally has a budget that was signed by Governor Josh Shapiro on Thursday night. After waiting for over a month, the Senate returned to session, moving forward the $45.5 Billion spending plan. We’re breaking down how we got to this point.
The State Senate called into session Thursday so Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis could sign the long awaited budget plan. Sen. Joe Pittman, (R) PA Senate Majority Leader saying: “This is an important and significant step in providing a balanced budget to the people of this Commonwealth.”
More than $45 Billion held up after Governor Josh Shapiro said he would line item Veto the Pass Program, a School Voucher plan that would help pay for Students in under-performing Districts to go a different school. A change of heart that had angered Republicans across the state. Pittman adding: “We would hope one final time that he would in fact sign the entire product of the budget into Law.” Sen. Jay Costa, (D) PA Senate Minority Leader adding: “I’m not concerned that he’ll change his mind again.”
The stroke of the Governor’s pen gets money flowing, but not all of it. Around $1.1 Billion in programs will not get funded according to a memo from the office of the budget. This includes School Mental Health Grants, Teacher stipends, the level up funding for least funded Schools, and the Whole Home Repair Program.
Sen. Scott Martin, (R) Lancaster Co. saying: “We’ve gone over the past five weeks working with the administration and identifying and having an agreement these are the things that would need to absolutely have to get done in the fiscal code.” Senate Republican Leaders called for the House to return and pass the code Bills – setting up the language for programs funded by the budget. In a statement, Democrats write quote: “All parties continue to meet to negotiate the few remaining budget issues and House Democrats will return to session as negotiations are finalized.”
Senator Pittman, in closing: “We’re eager to hit the reset button and work with him going forward to improve this entire commonwealth.”