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As you know, the General Assembly passed a budget in June that increased education funding without raising taxes. Gov. Wolf vetoed the plan and state government has been without a budget since.
Below you’ll find details of our effort to enact a temporary, “stop-gap” budget so that schools and social service agencies can receive vital funding.
As always, I welcome your feedback and input. Please don’t hesitate to contact me via my website.
Scott R. Wagner
In this Edition:
Senate Votes to Release $11.2 Billion in Withheld Payments to Schools, Critical Funding for Social Service Agencies
Today I joined my Senate colleagues in voting to pass a three-bill “stop-gap” budget package.
Despite all 19 Senate Democrats voting against this effort to provide necessary relief to their communities, all three bills passed with a vote of 30-19 and now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
This is the legislature’s latest effort to help schools, counties, municipalities and agencies that saw their state payments end on July 1 after Governor Wolf vetoed a budget almost immediately after it was passed by the legislature on June 30.
The package provides $11.2 billion in state allocations, releasing more than $1 billion being withheld from schools and restoring funding for critical programs and services. That represents one-third of the state funding as authorized by the budget Wolf vetoed in July – essentially, providing funding for July through October. The stop-gap budget also allocates the federal money Pennsylvania administers for schools and local governments.
I continue to reiterate that we as taxpayers have not stopped paying taxes and fees to the state, so the needed funds are there. The Governor just refuses to release them. He is forcing schools and social service agencies to borrow money, with taxpayers having to pay back the interest.
Governor Wolf continues to demand we give him everything he wants while claiming we are the ones not willing to compromise. He is to blame for this entire budget impasse. Along with the previously passed budget and compromise plans that followed, this marks our fourth attempt to get vital funding to agencies that are being crippled by Gov. Wolf’s strategy.
I remain committed to enacting major cost-saving reforms during this budget process and beyond. However, enough is enough when it comes to our community service providers. If we all stopped paying our taxes, you know the state would be knocking at our doors demanding payment.
The three-bill package is:
Senate Bill 1000 (Stop-Gap Appropriations Act)
Senate Bill 1001 (Fiscal Code Budget Implementation)
House Bill 224 (Public School Code)
For more of my views on the budget impasse, I encourage you to read the following:
York’s Wagner Blasts York’s Wolf Over Budget Impasse (ABC 27) (September 17, 2015)
Senator Wagner Calls on Governor Wolf to Fund State Government (September 16, 2015)Wagner Letter to the Editor: Editorial Boards, Stop Blaming the Legislature (September 14, 2015)
Measure Supporting Rape Victims Sent to Governor
The Senate concurred Thursday on House Amendments to Senate Bill 663, legislation introduced by Senator Randy Vulakovich, which will strengthen the rights of rape victims who have conceived a child as a result of the rape. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.
Under the legislation, also known as the Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act, courts could terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist, thereby eliminating the abuser’s access to full, partial, or supervised custody of a child conceived by rape. The measure maintains an offender’s obligation to pay child support even if parental rights are terminated by court order.
Current law only allows for the termination of parental rights of convicted rapists pending adoption. Furthermore, if the parental rights of the offender are terminated, the obligation to pay child support is also terminated under current law.
Other Bills Sent to the Governor This Week
House Bill 75 requires out-of-state pharmacies to register with the State Board of Pharmacy if they fill prescriptions for Pennsylvania residents.
House Bill 315 amends the Child Labor Act to permit an individual who is at least 12 years old to be employed as a “youth sports official.”
Senate Bill 678 clarifies the arrest powers and jurisdiction of campus police officers employed by Pennsylvania’s 14 State System of Higher Education universities.
The Senate returns to voting session on Monday, September 28.