2019 Budget

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For the first time in Governor Tom Wolf’s tenure, he has signed a budget on time. And after three years of protracted negotiations, the election year plan is finished well ahead of its June 30th deadline.

The modest, compromise measure spends $32.7 billion—a roughly two percent increase over last year.

New spending goes mostly to public schools, pensions, prisons and human services—including about $800 million in one-time funding for Medicaid that was moved off-budget, which will have to be filled in again next year.

Republicans cheered the lack of new taxes.

$32.7B Spending Plan Heads To Pennsylvania Governor's Desk

Jun 22, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The main appropriations bill in a $32.7 billion spending package for Pennsylvania's approaching fiscal year is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, more than a week early.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The current Pennsylvania budget, which ends June 30, was more than four months late in being completed. Two years earlier, in Gov. Tom Wolf’s first year in office, the budget impasse lasted nearly nine months.

In February, Wolf unveiled a $33 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2019. That’s a $1 billion increase, or 3 percent over the current budget. 

There’s been little political rancor over the budget this year, compared to last when the governor and legislature were wrestling with a $2 billion deficit.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state government is heading into the final month of its fiscal year with stable tax collections as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature prepare to assemble an election-year budget.

The Department of Revenue reported Friday that collections through 11 months for the state's main operating account were $31.5 billion, or about $121 million above estimate.

Matt Rourke / AP

With the commonwealth’s budget deadline a month away, negotiations haven’t begun in earnest.

But talks are ongoing behind the scenes—and that means a familiar tug-of-war between Democrats trying to bolster state programs, and Republicans determined to limit spending.

Centerpieces of Gov. Tom Wolf’s February budget proposal included funding hikes for education and services for the elderly and people with disabilities, plus new cash from a natural gas severance tax and fees for state police coverage.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor wants to ban gifts to all elected state officials and to suspend pay for himself, lawmakers and their top aides when they have not fully enacted a budget by the annual deadline.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a first-term Democrat seeking re-election, will outline a government reform proposal on Monday that also includes better campaign finance disclosure and a requirement that lawmakers provide receipts when seeking reimbursement for expenses.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to figure out a better way to pay for state police.

Matt Rourke / AP

Teachers, paraprofessionals and technical and clerical employees at Pittsburgh Public Schools are deciding whether to strike for the first time in more than 40 years.

Wolf Renews Battles On Natural Gas, Minimum Wage In Budget

Feb 6, 2018
Chris Knight / AP

  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's election-year budget plan unveiled Tuesday will renew battles with the Republican-controlled Legislature over imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas and increasing the minimum wage.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf is releasing his fourth budget proposal Tuesday. 

It will lay out his preferences for spending and funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The plan—and reception from republicans—isn’t expected to be quite as contentious as in past years, because negotiations are beginning as Wolf and many other state lawmakers are running for reelection, or for higher office.

That’s significant, because the budget impasses that have lately plagued Pennsylvania typically aren’t great for poll numbers. Wolf—and other candidates—stand to gain if everyone agrees.

Wolf Aims For Smooth Landing For Election-Year Budget

Feb 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will roll out his fourth and final first-term budget proposal, an election-year plan expected to be relatively restrained after three years dominated by drawn-out partisan fights with the Republican-controlled Legislature over how to plug gaping deficits.