Governor Tom Wolf celebrated a budget that solidifies his commitment to education at all levels with a historic $1.8 billion investment increase. The Wolf Administration has increased education funding by more than $3.7 billion since 2015, ensuring the opportunity for Pennsylvanians to succeed with a top-tier education without shouldering taxpayers with the bulk of the responsibility for funding schools.
“Since I took office, Pennsylvania’s students and families have been my top priority. We have made long overdue investments in the people of Pennsylvania, including better education for all, safer communities, and a brighter future,” Gov. Wolf said. “Securing $1.8 billion for education in this budget furthers these efforts and results in a historic $3.7 billion in investments my administration has made in education at all levels over the last eight years. I’m extremely proud of what we have accomplished.”
Investing in a Quality Education for All
This budget builds on the governor’s commitment to putting resources back into schools with a new $1.8 billion increase to benefit students from pre-k through college. This investment—which includes $850 million in reoccurring funding to allow school districts to invest in student learning while simultaneously cutting local property taxes—is on top of the already historic $1.9 billion increase in education funding Gov. Wolf secured in previous years for a total of $3.7 billion in new education funding during the Wolf Administration.
This year’s $1.8 billion increase includes:
- $525 million increase through the Fair Funding Formula. On average Pennsylvania schools will see their funding increase by 8 percent.
- $225 million increase for Level Up to provide targeted support to the 100 most in-need school districts, ensuring that every child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to thrive and succeed through equal access to a high-quality education no matter their zip code.
- $100 million increase for Special Education.
- $79 million increase for Early Education through Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
- $220 million for public higher education.
Meeting the Needs of Pennsylvanians
This budget prioritizes direct resources for Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania families, and makes legacy investments in state parks and the environment, including:
- $140 million in direct property tax relief to implement Gov. Wolf’s proposed one-time bonus rebate through the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program.
- $375 million for safe and affordable housing by creating new units, repairing existing units and funding home repairs.
- $90 million to stabilize the child care workforce through recruitment and retention payments.
- $25 million for a new Child Care Tax Credit to benefit Pennsylvania’s working families with children in child care.
- $2 million for women’s reentry to give reentrants the best opportunity to start fresh and reduce recidivism.
- $1 million for a Hunger Free Campus Initiative that will provide grants to higher education institutions to create or expand food pantries and further address college food insecurity.
- $100 million for adult mental health services, and the creation of a dedicated Behavioral Health Commission to make recommendations for allocating the funds.
- $100 million for student mental health support to ensure Pennsylvania’s youth have all the resources they need to overcome challenges and succeed through Ready to Learn Block Grants.
- $35 million to recapitalize the Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program.
- $696 million for conservation, recreation, and preservation, including funding to support the creation of three new state parks and a new ATV park.
In addition to these investments, the budget supports a stronger business economy to bring new business and good paying jobs to Pennsylvania. This is a result of reforming Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT) to ensure tax equality and fairness and reduce the CNIT to 4.99 percent by 2031.
Supporting Safer Communities
This budget includes funding to help make Pennsylvania communities safer through increased security and grassroots violence interruption efforts, including:
- $250,000 increase for It’s On Us PA to further combat sexual assault and make colleges and universities safer.
- $100 million increase for School Safety Grants to ensure children learn and grow in safe, healthy environments.
- $50 million for Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention programs to promote grassroots efforts for safer communities.
- $105 million for violence prevention, public safety, and safer communities.
- $135 million for local law enforcement support.
- $5 million for Non-Profit Security Grants to provide security grants to organizations targeted by hate crime.
Securing Financial Stability
When Gov. Wolf took office, Pennsylvania’s Rainy Day Fund was down to its last $231,800. Over the past seven years, the governor has turned a $2-3 billion structural budget deficit into a multi-billion-dollar budget surplus. Gov. Wolf will be the first governor since Dick Thornburgh, who left office in 1987, to turn over a budget surplus to his successor.
This budget builds on that foundation by:
- Depositing a record $2.1 billion into the Rainy Day Fund, building it to a historic balance of nearly $5 billion.
- Securing a $5.3 billion surplus, on top of the Rainy Day Fund balance, for Pennsylvania’s future.
- Makes strategic investments to set up the commonwealth to support Pennsylvanians without raising taxes or creating a future fiscal cliff.