Pa. Senate Appropriations Approves $28.375 Billion Budget

Sharon Ward |

The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 2013-14 state budget (amended into HB 1437) that spends $28.375 billion, roughly $645 million (or 2.3%) more than in the current fiscal year.

The bill only deals with appropriations in the budget. Other related issues, such as whether Pennsylvania opts into the expansion of Medicaid under the U.S. health reform law, or whether lawmakers will delay a planned a corporate tax cut next year, will be addressed in related bills that are still being negotiated.

Below are the highlights of the 2013-14 spending plan.



The Senate’s 2013-14 budget plan adds $22.5 million in funding to the basic education subsidy line over the House proposal and $32.5 million over what Governor Corbett proposed in February.

The basic education subsidy will increase by 2% to $5.526 billion. It is unclear how the additional funds will be distributed across the state’s 500 school districts.

Funding for Accountability Block Grants (providing support for pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten programs, class size reduction, and tutoring) remains flat at $100 million, still well below the 2010-11 levels of $254.5 million.

Special education remains flat at $1.027 billion, although a commission to review the special education formula has been established and is expected to issue a report late in the fall.

Funding for Pre-K Counts is increased by $5 million (6%) from 2012-13 to $87.3 million, and the Head Start Supplemental gets a $2 million (5.4%) increase to $39.2 million – consistent with the Governor’s proposal.

Career and technical education is flat funded at $62 million, while family and adult literacy gets a slight boost to just over $12 million. The Senate plan retains $3 million added by the House for an equipment fund for technical high schools. And for the first time in years, adult literacy programs get a small funding increase of $500,000.

The Senate budget spends $63 million less on public school employee pension benefits and $49.5 million less on school employees’ Social Security than the Governor proposed. These savings are the result of deep cuts to education that have reduced the ranks of teachers, reading specialists, counselors and other school staff.

Higher Education

The commonwealth’s higher education institutions — including the 14 campuses of the state system, Penn State and the state-related institutions — saw their funding slashed by 19% in 2011-12. Funding remained at that level in the 2012-13 budget.

State-related universities get modest increases in the Senate’s 2013-14 budget. The four state-related institutions – Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln University – and the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary and infectious disease programs will get $4.3 million, or 0.8%, in additional funding. The Governor’s proposal funded these institutions at the same level as in 2012-13.

Penn State and Lincoln each receive $2 million in additional funding, with smaller increases for Pitt and Penn. Temple’s appropriation was not increased.

The State System of Higher Education universities are flat funded at $412.7 million. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), which offers financial assistance to students in the form of grants, scholarships and work-study awards, is essentially flat funded at $386.5 million.

Health and Public Welfare

The biggest change in the Senate budget from the Governor’s February plan is an increase in Medicaid Capitation payments, which funds the managed care providers. The Senate plan allocates $3.935 billion, $104.8 million (3%) more than the Governor’s proposal and $154.3 million (4%) more than 2012-13. The Capitation line has grown as the commonwealth completes its shift to mandatory managed care this year.

Medical Assistance – Outpatient, funded at $310.6 million, is $140.3 million (31.1%) less than 2012-13 and $58.7 million (15.9%) less than the Governor proposed. Medical Assistance – Inpatient is funded at $124.1 million, less than half the appropriation in the current year.

Funding for Medical Assistance – Long-term care is down slightly from what the Governor proposed but $67.6 million (8.8%) more that 2012-13, rising to $838.5 million.

Autism intervention and services retains the Governor’s proposed $2.6 million (20%) boost to $15.6 million.

The Senate plan also restores $10.8 million (58%) cut by the Governor for Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). The $29.4 million allocated for MAWD is still $4.1 million (12%) less than 2012-13. The increase is likely due to the Commonwealth Court decision in the adultBasic lawsuit, which held that the commonwealth had to allocate 30% of Tobacco Settlement dollars to adult health insurance programs as stiputated in Act 77.

Child care services for low-income working families is increased by $7.2 million (5%) over the Governor’s proposal to $155.7 million, a 10% increase over 2012-13.

Funding for county child welfare is down from the Governor’s proposed $1.063 billion but $15 million (1.4%) over 2012-13, rising to $1.055 billion.

A 10% funding cut enacted last year to county human services, including mental and behavior health services, homeless assistance, and the Human Services Development Fund, remain intact in this budget.

County assistance offices are provided a $30 million (12.2%) increase over 2012-13 to $275 million.

Funding for cash grants decreases by $4 million (6.6%) from 2012-13 to $56.7 million.

The allocation for Services to Persons with Disabilities, at $221.1 million, is $6.7 million (3%) below what the Governor proposed but $1.7 million (2%) above 2012-13. Attendant Care funding  at $113 million, is $2 million (2%) less than the Governor proposed.

Funding for domestic violence and rape crisis services is increased modestly. Funding for legal services is flat.

Other Health Care

The budget plan includes a $9.5 million increase for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a $3.8 million increase for CHIP administration. The Governor had sought a $13.5 million increase for CHIP to enroll an additional 9,330 children in the program and adjust for a reduction in federal matching funds. The Senate budget allocates $111 million, $4 million less than the Governor’s proposal.

Public health programs get an increase of $5.6 million (2.9%) from 2012-13 to $195.5 million.

Public Safety and Corrections

The Attorney General’s Office will see a $9 million increase (11.7%) to $87.3 million, including a newly appropriated $2.5 million for a mobile street crimes unit and additional funds for Child Predator Interception Units.

Funding for state correctional institutions, at $1.643 billion, is up $63 million (4%) from 2012-13 and $13.9 million (1%) from the Governor’s proposal.

The State Police, which also derives funding from the Motor Vehicle License Fund, gets $210 million in General Fund dollars, an increase of $14.8 million (8%) from 2012-13.

Funding for Probation and Parole is up $9.9 million (7.5%) from 2012-13 to $141.5 million.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is funded at $17.1 million in the budget, a significant decrease ($46.5 million, or 73%) from 2012-13. The previous year’s budget saw increased funding levels as a result of a string of costly natural disaster relief efforts.

State Parks and the Environment

The budget plan reduces General Fund dollars for state park operations by $20 million and state forest operations by $5 million. Those costs will be shifted to special funds – either the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund or the Oil and Gas Lease Fund, although that is not yet clear.

Funding for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is up $2.9 million (2.3%) from 2012-13 to $127.7 million. Environmental protection funding has seen a series of cuts over the last several years. While there have been increases in environmental funding from other state funds, these have not been able to make up for the General Fund cuts — meaning fewer dollars for state parks and forests, decreases in air and water testing, and less ability to protect our environment.


Funding for agricultural programs is down $5.8 million (4.4%) from 2012-13 to $123.8 million. While this is a significant decrease in funding, it is less than the 9% cut sought by the Governor.

Community and Economic Development

Programs administrated by the Department of Community and Economic Development get a $6.9 million (3%) funding increase over 2012-13 in this plan. The increase mostly is to increase funding for Pennsylvania First, a job creation grant program, although a number of other programs see funding increases and decreases.

Legislature, Courts, and Governor’s Office

Funding for the General Assembly increases by $4.1 million (1.5%) from 2012-13 to $277.6 million.

Funding for the courts is up $8.1 million (2.6%) from 2012-13 to $317.4 million.

The Governor’s Office was essentially flat funded at $6.5 million, while funding for the Executive Offices is increased by $16 million (10.2%) from 2012-13 to $172.9 million.