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Step One: Senate Passes $27.6 billion General Fund Budget

Floor Remarks on Senate Bill 1466
Sen. Costa delivers remarks to the Senate on SB 1466

The first step in the process of passing a state spending plan was taken on Wednesday, May 9, when the Senate passed a budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1.

I voted in support of the Senate plan because I believe it is important to keep the process moving forward.

I believe we have come a distance from where we were in February when the governor proposed a budget that would have inflicted additional pain.

The bi-partisan budget is a start but there is more work to do in order for the plan to be complete.

Senate Democrats have been focused and transparent about our budget priorities for this year.

At a recent conference at the state Capitol, we outlined our budget priorities for the upcoming negotiation:

  • Sen. Costa outlines Sen. Democratic Budget priorities at a Capitol news conference.
    Sen. Costa outlines Sen. Democratic Budget priorities at a Capitol news conference.
    Invest in jobs and the economy without raising taxes
  • Invest in education to secure our future
  • Protect our social safety net
  • Smart budget decisions to save taxpayer dollars
  • Partner with local governments, school districts, and taxpayers

While Senate Democrats did not get all that was suggested in the outline of our budget priorities, we were able to generate funds for education, human services and other important programs. We also were able to secure a seat the budget table and have an impact on future adjustments to the budget.

This new General Fund budget proposal would spend $27.6 billion – a $500 million increase over the governor’s plan.

Download Senate Passed Proposed 2012-13 Budget

The plan that the Senate passed does not include a tax increase.

While the budget includes restorations and a reversal of some deep budget cuts in education and human services sought by the Corbett administration, other adjustments are needed.

Watch Press Conferenc

On April 3, 2012, Senate Democrats Outline Budget Priorities, Investment Strategy

Watch Press Conference

Some of the critical restorations included in the Senate-passed budget (SB 1466):

  • $245 million for higher education
  • $84 million for county human services funds
  • $50 million for distressed schools
  • $50 million more in Accountability Block Grants

We will continue working to add to lines such as the Human Services Development Fund and fund job creation, economic development and transition assistance grants for abused women, disabled and children without custodial parents.

The Senate’s budget plan is a significant departure from the one proposed by Corbett in February and is a markedly different approach than the draconian plan Republicans rammed through last year. Last year, the governor’s plan slashed more than a billion dollars from basic education and dealt severe blows to human service and social service programs.

In his budget address this year, the governor tried to make the point that revenues were still trickling in and Pennsylvania would have to do more with less this year too. The governor claimed that the state would be more than $700 million short at the end of the 2011-12 Fiscal Year.

The governor’s rationale flies in the face of the more than $700 million in surplus revenues from last year and the buildup of revenues this year as the economy has rebounded a bit.

There is still significant work to do and more changes in the 2012-13 budget plan will be made by the state House of Representatives and the governor before the June 30 budget deadline.

As important, with new revenues coming in and momentum building there is an opportunity for state policymakers to do more and reverse the disinvestment and hardship that we’ve seen from the last two Corbett administration budgets.

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Floor Remarks on Senate Bill 1466 Floor Remarks on Senate Bill 1466