A Bigger Agenda Stalled

07.02.13 | Abby Lutcher

The republican-influenced budget does not increase taxes, and puts more money into education as well as state safety. The $28.4 billion spending plan increases the budget by $719 million, or 2.6 percent more than last year's state budget. The winners in this year's budget are education and safety.  Universities will get about the same state aid, and public schools, particularly pre-k and “head start” programs will get $130 million more. Several million dollars being invested in safety will allow the state to open three more state police training camps and hire more than 200 new troopers. Not everything made the cut last night - at least three major items are on hold until fall:  Liquor privatization, which would allow beer distributors and other store to sell liquor and wine; a pension overhaul, which would reduce benefits for public employees; and transportation funding, which is needed to fix up Pennsylvania’s decrepit roads and deteriorating bridges. “The gas tax proposal would have been the largest gas tax increase in the history of Pennsylvania,” said state representative Matt Baker.  “It was just too much for the majority of members to support.” Baker says the House and Senate will need to explore other ways to raise transportation funding this fall. Aside from those stalled items, Baker says he considers this year's budget fair and balanced.