Senate Votes to Release $1 Billion in Withheld Payments to Schools, Critical Funding for Social Service Agencies

(HARRISBURG) – In passing an $11.2 billion temporary state funding plan, the state Senate today voted to send tax dollars being collected by the state back to communities, including $1 billion in missed payments to schools and hundreds of millions of dollars to social services agencies.

The move is the latest effort by Senate Republicans to help schools, counties, municipalities, agencies and contractors that saw their state payments end on July 1 after Governor Wolf vetoed House Bill 1192 on June 30 — almost immediately after its passage by the General Assembly.

“I am pleased that today, we have advanced legislation to provide our schools and vital services with needed funding,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25). “This stop-gap budget would provide financial stability for our Commonwealth while a final budget agreement continues to be negotiated. As members of the General Assembly, it is our job to ensure that taxpayers’ money is not being held hostage during the current budget impasse.”

“Tax dollars continue to flow to Harrisburg. The money is being collected from people’s paychecks and through the state sales tax. Voting to provide this funding is the right thing to do,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34). “Frustration with the budget negotiations continues to mount – both inside and outside the Capitol building. Understandably so. Adopting stop-gap funding is our only option to help fund our schools and human services organizations, who are being hit hard by the loss of state funds.”

“We are and will continue to work with the Governor to come to an agreement on a final appropriations bill, but the Governor’s current approach and the levels of spending and taxes he is requesting do not allow for that accommodation at this time,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-16) said. “In the meantime, however, this short-term budget is something we can and must do to meet the obligations we have to provide necessary and critical funding to school districts, non-profits and state agencies, while simultaneously continuing those conversations.”

“These are important local services that affect our most vulnerable citizens: seniors, school children, at-risk youth, women in dangerous domestic situations,” said Senate Majority Whip John Gordner (R-27). “It’s past time to get funding to these critical programs.”

The stop-gap funding measure now goes to the House for consideration next week.

Most of the social service money will go to restore missed payments to county child welfare agencies. Other agencies that will benefit include domestic violence organizations, rape crisis centers, homeless assistance groups, human services development funds and special pharmaceutical services.

The three-bill package provides $11.2 billion in state allocations. That represents one-third (four months) of the state funding as authorized by HB 1192 with limited exceptions. The stop-gap budget also allocates the federal money Pennsylvania administers for schools and local governments.

Watch video of Senators discussing the need for stopgap funding.

CONTACT:
Drew Crompton – Senator Scarnati – (717) 787-7084
Jennifer Kocher – Senator Corman – (717) 787-1377
Matt Moyer – Senator Browne – (717) 787-1349
Todd Roup – Senator Gordner – (717) 787-8928