Two months after the General Assembly passed a spending bill for 2017-18, the General Assembly has not enacted legislation to fully fund the expenditures appropriated this year or to pay off the deficit of $1.5 billion from last fiscal year.
The Senate passed a revenue bill that funds the budget. It is not perfect but it could be improved in the House. But House Speaker Mike Turzai, Majority Leader Dave Reed, and other extremists in the Republican caucus remain opposed to any tax increase. Instead, they are considering a dangerous and sketchy plan to raid special state funds to balance the budget.
Without action by the General Assembly, credit agencies are likely to again lower debt ratings, and, because so much of the state budget consists of expenditures mandated by federal law or contractual obligations, Governor Wolf will be forced to cut discretionary spending 12%.
Here’s what that would mean to education funding by House district (tab 1) and for each individual school district within House districts (tab 2). In total, it would mean a $1 billion cut to education across the state.