Here’s how you can help the victims of Hurricane Michael

Gov. Tom Wolf announces that he has signed 2018-19 budget

Pennsylvania State Capitol (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday night that he has has signed the 2018-19 Pennsylvania budget.

“Throughout my term, I have fought hard for Pennsylvanians and moved the commonwealth forward by investing in workforce training to help all Pennsylvanians succeed in our economy, increasing education funding to give our students the education they deserve, and expanding options for Pennsylvanians to have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Gov. Wolf. “This year’s bipartisan budget continues to increase opportunities for all Pennsylvanians and shows the results of our hard work to get our finances under control.”

The state Senate passed the $32.7 billion budget Friday afternoon by a margin of 47-2. It increases spending over this year’s budget by 1.7 percent, or $560 million.

In the House of Representatives, the budget was passed by a margin of 188-10.

Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) said he supported the plan in part because of additional resources aimed at cracking down on welfare waste, fraud and abuse.

“This budget prioritizes additional funds to combat welfare fraud and abuse through the Office of Inspector General,” he said. “This new funding will protect the integrity of our public assistance programs for those who genuinely need it and punish those who try to game the system for their own benefit.”

State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) also lauded the bill.

“I am pleased with this bipartisan spending plan,” he said in a statement. “It holds the line on taxes, keeps spending under the inflation level and staves off future financial problems by putting dollars aside in the state’s ‘rainy day’ fund.

“Even under these spending constraints, I am pleased that we were able to make increased investments in education and economic development. Investing in our schools and economy is an investment in our future.

“I was also pleased to see additional dollars to encourage manufacturing investment and the transfer of $737,000 for the Vocational Rehabilitation Fund to optimize federal support funds to help the displaced and disabled find jobs.

“Finally, this budget increases funding for public schools by $186 million and provides an additional $22 million for our community colleges and state system colleges.”