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Governor’s Line-Item Vetoes Leave Work Unfinished
After withholding funding for our schools and social service providers for nearly six months, Governor Wolf finally released partial funding for a number of the programs and services people rely on most by approving part of the budget on December 29. While this announcement offered some relief to the crisis the Governor created, his line-item vetoes create a whole host of new challenges for local communities.
One of the largest cuts Governor Wolf made was to basic education. While the General Assembly appropriated $5.6 billion for 2015-16, including an additional $405 million in new dollars for schools, the Governor used his line-item veto authority to reduce that to $2.5 billion, less than half of what the schools should have received. This approach relieves the immediate pressure on many schools, but it also creates the strong possibility of another school funding crisis just a few months down the road.
The Governor also chose to eliminate nearly $100 million that was appropriated to the Department of Agriculture, including programs that are critical to the success of family farms and agricultural operations. Agriculture drives our region and our state’s economy, so the Governor owes the people of Lancaster County an explanation as to why he made such a damaging decision.
Other areas of the budget that were reduced or eliminated altogether by Governor Wolf include diabetes programs, monies for regional cancer institutes, programs for services for children with special needs, hemophilia, lupus, regional poison control centers, trauma prevention, epilepsy support services, bio-technology research, Tourette syndrome, funding for ALS support services, medical assistance and other health research and services.
Clearly we will have to continue to work to resolve the remaining outstanding issues for the 2015-16 state budget. Now that some monies are finally flowing to our schools, human service providers and others who need these critical funds, I am hopeful that the remaining components of our Commonwealth’s annual spending plan can be finalized quickly. I remain committed to completing work on a budget that does not requires local communities to send more tax dollars to Harrisburg.
What Did the Governor Cut from the Budget?
Some highlights of what the Governor line-item vetoed include:
If you are interested in the specific spending line-items that Governor Wolf reduced or eliminated, you can see that information here.
100th Pennsylvania Farm Show Set for January 9 -16
The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show will be held in Harrisburg from January 9 through 16. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits, and 300 commercial exhibitors.
The show runs January 9-15 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and January 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots.
Agriculture is a critical part of our local economy, and I wish all Lancaster County participants the best of luck in this year’s show.
I am planning to attend the opening ceremonies tomorrow and will be spending several days next week celebrating one of our Commonwealth’s most prominent industries. I hope you will join me.
For more information about the 2016 Farm Show, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.
Senate Box 203036