HARRISBURG – February 8, 2022 – Governor Tom Wolf gave his final budget address today to a joint Pennsylvania House and Senate Session. The proposed budget invests in Pennsylvanians through education, workforce development, criminal justice reform, public health investments, and raising the minimum wage – without calling for a single tax increase.
“I am very pleased with the proposed budget that the Governor presented today because it gives us the ability to truly invest in Pennsylvanians. We are in an excellent position, with an estimated $6 billion budget surplus, to fund programs and initiatives that help Pennsylvania’s live the full and prosperous lives they deserve,” Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa said.
Investments in education include $1.55 billion increase in basic education, $200 million in special education, $60 million in Pre-K Counts and $10 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance, $300 in Level Up funding to 100 school districts with the highest needs, and $77.7 million in federal funds to make childcare more affordable. Proposed investments of over $180 million across higher education programs and a total of $200 million for Nellie Bly scholarships to help PASSHE students.
Further investments include $35 million in grants and technical assistance through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for community-led gun violence prevention efforts and $1 million for reentry services to assist women by giving them the best opportunity to start fresh and reduce recidivism.
Making sure that Pennsylvania workers earn a living wage has been a long-time priority of the Senate Democratic Caucus and this budget proposes an immediate e increase of state minimum wage to $12 per hour, with an annual increase of $.50 per hour until all minimum wage employees reach $15 per hour.
“This budget gives us the opportunity to make the critical investments that Pennsylvania needs in our schools, communities, and workforce. Now is the time to put this money into the programs that fund the future of this commonwealth. We must use the surplus of this budget to show Pennsylvanians that we see where they are struggling, and we are supporting a budget that gives them the support where they need it,” Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Vincent Hughes said.
For more information on the 2022-2023 budget, visit pasenate.com/budget.