Budget passes State House, heads to Senate for vote

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The State House sends this year's budget bill to the senate. Although, it wasn't without a fight by some democrats wanting to debate why a a minimum wage increase was not included in it.  However, some republicans call this budget one of the best they've voted on in years.

What was supposed to be a discussion of the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, turned into a debate by some democrats. They're upset a minimum wage increase was not included in the budget.

"When I saw it not in the budget, this year, it was extremely disappointing," said State Rep. Patty Kim. "I think we're sending a terrible message that you guys are still worth $7.25 an hour, and the economy is doing better, things are doing well. They should get the raise they deserve."

On the House floor Speaker Mike Turzai had to remind lawmakers they were discussing the budget, not debating minimum wage.

Ultimately the $34 billion budget passed the House, with no new or increased taxes. It does include a $443 million education increase with additional money for public schools, state-run universities, and community colleges. $250 million dollars will be added to the state's rainy day fund.

While some democrats do not support this current budget, Governor Tom Wolf does. He says, he will sign it in its current form. His office issued this statement on the current proposal:

In February, Governor Wolf outlined a budget proposal that would make investments in all levels of education, build on our progress to have the nation’s strongest workforce and help children and their families at early periods of development, while making large deposits in the Rainy Day Fund and structurally balancing after years of deficits.

The appropriations bill now before the legislature meets these objectives. With this year’s investments, Governor Wolf has secured nearly $1.2 billion in new education funding since the beginning of his term, while sharpening a focus on workforce development that will help Pennsylvanians succeed in emerging industries. Through careful management, the Commonwealth’s financial situation has improved markedly. Once we faced a $3 billion deficit, and this year we will be able to make the most significant deposit in the Rainy Day Fund in more than a decade.

Republicans also support this budget.

"It's a fiscally responsible budget," said State Rep. Seth Grove. "It's not sexy, not a lot of bells and whistles to it but it gets the job done, fund the priorities of Pennsylvanians."

The budget will now head to the Senate for a vote. It must be passed and signed by Governor Wolf by July 1st.

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