For the first time in a long time, Pennsylvania has an on-time budget. Well in advance of the June 30 deadline, lawmakers and the Wolf administration announced that they had reached agreement on a $32.7 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which is $560 million more than the current year's spend total (a 2% increase).
The General Appropriations Bill, House Bill 2121, passed the House in a 188-10 vote last Wednesday and the Senate in a 47-2 vote on Friday. Late Friday evening the bill was signed by the Governor and reflects an increased amount of education funding; providing an additional $100 million for basic education, $20 million more for pre-K counts, $5 million more for Head Start, $15 million more for special education, $25 million more for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, and a $30 million increase for the career and technical education appropriation in the Department of Education. The budget will also increase funding to the State System of Higher Education and state related universities by 3%. Another $70 million is dedicated toward school safety ($10 million of which will be allocated to an existing safe schools initiative), which became a priority for lawmakers this year following the mass school shootings in Florida and Texas. There is also more funding to help people with intellectual disabilities receive services and funding to help combat the state's opioid crisis by granting 800 more families access to evidence-based home visit services.
The film tax credit remained funded at $65 million. The good news is that an on-time budget means film tax credit applications for projects won't be delayed in being reviewed/approved due to budget delay.
The House and Senate are now adjourned for the summer, returning in September. Looking forward to next summer (2019), expectations are already being set for a late budget - well past June 30.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org