Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing to fully eliminate state funding totaling about $30 million to the University of Pennsylvania in the coming fiscal year.
There appears to be a lot of "savings" pending in Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's 2017-18 budget.
- Assembles a $2 billion grab bag of spending cuts, efficiency steps and revenue sources that do not involve raising taxes.
State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-114, Taylor, said it's "long past time we've enacted a severance tax", but believes the proposed 6.5 percent may be too high.
We've reached out to Penn for comment and will update when we hear back. His proposal mostly eliminates the deficit by identifying cuts and savings initiatives in excess of $2 billion. "And it sets our Commonwealth on a sustainable fiscal course that will grow our paltry rainy day fund from $245,000 thousand today to nearly $500 million by 2022", Wolf said.
Wolf is also asking lawmakers to approve an increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour, counting on the resulting higher tax receipts to help balance the budget.
Wolf says he will not seek an increase in state income and sales tax, however the governor has already taken some cost cutting measures.
He also said it was time to close corporate loopholes. "This budget also provides $26.2 million to move individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism from the waiting list and protects the lottery fund and programs that seniors depend on". Some of them include eliminating the University of Pennsylvania's subsidy for veterinary programs.
A first term governor who has pitched the severance tax since he took office in 2015, Wolf has repeatedly called for other broad-based tax increases.
His proposals to the Republican-controlled Legislature included imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production and signing off on potentially touchy cuts in spending, including transportation aid to schools.
According to the Inquirer, that includes possible mergers between the Department of Corrections and the state's Board of Probation and Parole, which together would become the new Department of Criminal Justice, as well between the Departments of Health, Aging, Human Services and Drug and Alcohol Programs, which would simply become the Department of Health and Human Services.
Treasury: A decrease of about $153 million in the general fund for an overall budget of $1.38 billion.
The governor's proposal would provide the State System about $453.1 million next year to help fund the operations of the 14 state-owned universities, including Edinboro University, an increase of nearly $9 million from the current year's funding level. Under the proposal, the commonwealth would lease the complex to a private entity for 29 years at a fair market value of $200 million.
- Increases early-childhood education funding by $75 million, an increase of 38 percent to $271 million.