Analysis of Wolf budget proposal

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"Everywhere else - Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alaska - they're bringing in billions of dollars from the oil and gas industries".

"As the economy becomes more robust - our job gets a little better in terms of putting the budget together" added Senator John Yudichak, (D) Luzerne Carbon Counties. "I believe you have it in you to do it again".

House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said he likes the idea of Wolf's proposal for more money for computer and industrial education, but he also said Wolf's spending proposal - made to look smaller by moving some Medicaid costs out of the state's main bank account - contains questionable components that will lead to tax increases in the future.

With a budget focused on education and training to build a better workforce, the governor proposed next years budget to be almost $1 billion more than this year's, with spending set aside to improve Pennsylvania's roads and bridges, and dedicating more than $12 billion to health and human services.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman says he's disappointed Wolf isn't seeking more money for state-related universities, like his hometown Penn State, and community colleges.

It's a boost of one billion dollars compared to his previous budget with no broad based tax increases.

"There is still a great deal of work to be done", Scarnati said. "However, severance tax revenues could be used to better our students' educational opportunities in the commonwealth".

"Businesses don't invest in states that don't invest in education, in infrastructure or job training", Wolf said.

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

"I think we need a broader approach across the board. We're doing all of these things, and I am hopeful Amazon will come here, build here, and expand here", Wolf said.

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Even with the new spending, Wolf is projecting that the state will end the year with a $41 million balance, leaving the state in a position to transfer nearly $14 million into the state's Rainy Day Fund, according to administration estimates.

"I am hearing that this is going to be a better year".

The state is expected to end the current budget year with a $40 million surplus. His plan wouldn't change the rate until 2019-2020, when it would drop to 9.49 percent. He also seeks to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour, keep sales and income taxes as they are, and re-upped his fight for a Marcellus Shale gas tax.

Albright, the budget secretary declined to estimate how much the state might gain in new income tax revenue if the state moves from the $7.25 federal minimum wage to the governor's proposed $12 an hour minimum wage. An additional $34 million, including available federal funds, is proposed for programs to battle the opioid epidemic.

Solanco and Elizabethtown Area school districts, on the other hand, would get a less than 1 percent increase in basic education funding.

- PENSIONS: Grows $275 million, or 9 percent, to $3.2 billion.

Wolf urged the General Assembly to join other natural gas-producing states in approving a severance tax, which in its latest form would bring in an anticipated $250 million over the next year.

Wolf, a Democrat, has proposed a severance tax every year since taking office.

Since it was enacted in 2012, the state has collected more than $1.2 billion in impact fees. "I am greatly encouraged by people who want to work in technical careers and trades", Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) said.

Wolf is renewing his call, first made a year ago, to charge local governments $25 per capita for the cost of state police protection if they don't provide local police coverage.

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