Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Governor Tom Wolf signed a state budget that will help power the commonwealth’s recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic by making the largest investment in public education in state history, by investing in quality, affordable child care for parents who wish to return to the workforce and by helping Pennsylvanians struggling with mortgage or rent payments stay in their homes.
“This is a budget that invests in Pennsylvanians,” said Gov. Wolf. “It is a budget that will help those hit hardest by the pandemic get the support they need, while at the same time making crucial investments in our future by supporting the students and workers who will drive our economy forward in the years to come.”
The budget outlined in House Bill 1348 makes a historic $416 million increase in state funding for public education. The budget makes crucial investments to support the needs of schools and students, including a $200 million increase in the Fair Funding Formula, $100 million to support underfunded school districts through the Level Up initiative, $50 million in special education funding, $30 million for early education, $20 million for Ready to Learn, $11 million for preschool Early Intervention and $5 million for community colleges.
“While there is much to celebrate in this bill, it is disappointing that we could not come together to fully provide for the needs of schools across the commonwealth,” said Gov. Wolf. “We need all public education funding to go through the fair funding formula to ensure each school district and each student in our commonwealth are getting the support they need. There is more – much more – that needs to be done to fully provide for the needs of our commonwealth’s students and the future of our workforce.”
The governor also vetoed House Bill 1300, which creates unconscionable – and in some cases unconstitutional – barriers to voting in Pennsylvania and rolls back many of the bipartisan improvements made in Act 77 of 2019. This legislation would infringe on Pennsylvanians’ freedom to vote by imposing additional voter identification restrictions, limiting our mail-in voting system – which Pennsylvanians have widely embraced – and reducing the number of days to register to vote.
The governor signed and partially approved Senate Bill 255, the General Appropriation bill, while vetoing the line item providing funds for the establishment and operation of the Bureau of Election Audits contained in HB 1300.
The governor also signed HB 952, HB 1508, HB 1509, HB 1510, HB 1511, HB 1512, HB 1513, HB 1514; HB 1515, HB 1516, SB 265, SB 266, SB 267, SB 268, SB 269 and SB 381.