HARRISBURG – In an address to the General Assembly, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion 2022-23 state budget that would increase General Fund spending by $4.5 billion, Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) said today.
“This massive budget not only includes an overall spending increase of 16.6%, but it also dramatically overestimates revenues by billions of dollars,” Sen. Martin said. “This reckless budget leaves a nightmare fiscal scenario not only for the next governor, but for future generations of Pennsylvanians, as well.”
The new spending includes $2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. According to Senate Appropriations Committee budget projections, the governor’s plan will produce a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year and create an even bigger bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay long after the governor leaves office: a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27.
“That budget that we heard today is nothing but smoke and mirrors and it’s going to create a budget scenario that’s going to cripple Pennsylvania and the services it provides,” Sen. Martin said. “That’s not in the best interest of anybody, and certainly doesn’t help turn around our demographic decline and unleash our economy.”
The governor’s plan also earmarks $1.55 billion in new education spending, with $1.25 billion to be distributed through the “fair funding” formula and the remaining $300 million through the Level-Up initiative that provides funds to 100 mostly poor and under-resourced school districts.
At the same time, Wolf’s plan advocates for charter school funding cuts that total $373 million.
“Cutting charter school funding disproportionately harms students with special needs and socioeconomic constraints,” said Sen. Martin. “School choice is a lifeline for thousands of families and it is disingenuous, at best, to cut charter funding at a time when more parents then ever wish to be empowered to choose the education setting that is most appropriate for their children.”
The Senate will hold a series of public hearings in the coming weeks to review the spending plan and produce a more responsible budget proposal that funds essential services while shielding taxpayers from the consequences of reckless overspending.
CONTACT: Terry Trego, Chief of Staff, 717-787-6535