Stronger Economy Leading to Swift Resolution of State Budget, Staats Says
HARRISBURG – Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks) voted in favor of the 2018-19 state budget, crediting a turnaround in the state’s economy for the easy “yes” vote and potential early budget resolution.

“This is the first time since joining the General Assembly that I have heard the term ‘surplus’ in reference to the state budget,” said Staats. “Pennsylvania has not had a budget surplus in more than a decade, and just a few years ago we were facing a $2 billion budget deficit. Clearly, the sacrifices we have made to hold the line on state spending is now paying off.”

On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly approved the $32.7 billion spending plan, which is just 1.7 percent higher than last year’s budget – an increase that is below the rate of inflation. It contains no new taxes or fees, and for the first time since 2006, it will set money aside in the Rainy Day Fund.

The 2018-19 budget invests $457 million more for preK-12 education, bringing total spending to a record-high $12.3 billion. Included is $224 million for the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System; $170 million for basic education, special education, PreK Counts, Head Start, and career and technical education; and $60 million for the creation of a new school safety initiative. Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown Community school districts will receive funding increases averaging 4.5 percent.

Higher education will also see increases. Pennsylvania’s state-related universities and community colleges will get a 3 percent increase and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will get 3.3 percent more. In granting the increases, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) urged the colleges and universities to use the increase in state funding solely to make higher education more affordable for Pennsylvania students and not raise tuition, fees or room and board charges.

Other key increases include about $7 million more for the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection; about $8 million more for the departments of Health and Veterans Affairs. More information is available here.

Representative Craig Staats
145th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
717.260.6452 /

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