On March 7, 2023, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center released its annual analysis of the Governor’s Budget. In short, PBPC agrees with Governor Shapiro’s priorities but was hoping for increased funding in order to truly meet the needs of Pennsylvanians.
Read the report or watch the recorded presentation for details.
The Recorded Presentation
The Press Release
“’It [the court] recognized that education is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Pennsylvania Constitution to all children—and that this right has been denied in low-wealth districts,’ said Susan Spicka, executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania. ‘The court decision affirms in great detail the deep deprivations that students in low-wealth districts have faced for decades. Now it’s the legislature’s job to come up with the necessary funding so that all students can receive the quality public education guaranteed in our state constitution. Complying with this ruling will change the future for millions of families so that children are no longer denied the education they deserve.’”
“This week the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a longtime advocate for a severance tax, resurrected the idea during an online media conference, citing a change in leadership in the state house, an operational deficit expected to develop in the state budget, and a recent Commonwealth Court ruling that the state is not adequately funding public education.
‘Pennsylvania must secure new, reliable and recurring sources of revenue from those with the most ability to pay,’ Budget and Policy Center Director Marc Stier said at the start of the media conference.”
“’The fiscal status of Pennsylvania is almost paradoxical. We have a huge surplus of more than $13 billion. Yet we are likely to have recurring budget deficits starting next year and critical needs for additional state spending, especially for full and fair funding of K-12 education,’ the think-tank’s director, Marc Stier, said in an email.
‘The huge surplus creates a temptation for politicians to avoid making hard decisions,’ Stier continued. ‘But it also provides an opportunity to use the surplus and [a] modest addition to revenues now to meet the needs of the state over the long term.’”
“In an 11-page paper PBPC issued Thursday, the center said, ‘despite a $13 billion surplus — including $5 billion and the Rainy Day Fund as well as a projected $8 billion surplus in the General Fund budget this year — the state of Pennsylvania would start running operating deficits in the next fiscal year, just to carry out the work it does this year.’
Additionally, the center said, pointing to the recent Commonwealth Court ruling that the way Pennsylvania funds public schools is unconstitutional, the center said expected deficits ‘don’t include the funds needed to meet the moral, and now constitutional, requirement to fully and fairly fund K-12 education, let alone to meet the state’s other needs.'”
“Pennsylvania is the only state with natural gas drilling that does not impose a severance tax on this industry. However, the state does have an impact fee.