Pennsylvania budget: Final bills wrap up, head to governor

Tony Romeo
June 28, 2019 - 2:37 pm
Gov. Tom Wolf

Tony Romeo/KYW Newsradio

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania lawmakers have now finished work on a new state budget. Gov. Tom Wolf said the spending plan and its companion bills will become law. 

The new budget has more money for education — nearly doubling early childhood education funding in five years and puts Pennsylvania’s nearly $300 million surplus into the rainy day fund. But the governor’s decision not to veto any of the budget companion code bills will have consequences. 

Language in the Human Services Code bill, while providing more money for Philadelphia hospitals, also eliminates the $200 monthly general assistance program for the poor. 

And the Fiscal Code bill has language that will prohibit local governments from banning single-use plastic bags until two reports to the legislature are completed, due a year from now. 

In a statement touting his budget accomplishments — like lowering health care costs, reforming campus sexual assault, expanding the GI bill, spurring agricultural development with a Farm Bill, funding early intervention programs, and securing voter registration databases — Wolf also noted his disappointment over bills that were not passed.

"I am going to keep fighting tooth and nail for a higher minimum wage. I am going to keep pushing for infrastructure funding that will help strengthen and rebuild our communities. I’m going to keep working to lower the Corporate Net Income Tax so companies know that Pennsylvania is open for business. I’m going to keep advocating for non-discrimination legislation that signals that Pennsylvania welcomes everyone. And I will keep fighting for support for our most vulnerable neighbors."

The governor said, however, that the budget includes $15 million more for low-income housing assistance. Among the flurry of bills passed before lawmakers’ summer recess, Wolf said he’s eager to sign a measure to have Pennsylvania set up its own health insurance exchange. A spokesman said the governor will sign that bill next week.