Reflecting the priorities and continued work of the House Republican Caucus, the 2019-20 General Appropriations bill passed the House of Representatives today with bipartisan support. House Bill 790 features no new taxes, no tax increases and no additional fees, continuing a multi-year effort that has resulted in increased revenues for the Commonwealth.
The House budget proposal focuses on several key priorities to stand up for Pennsylvania taxpayers and protect their hard-earned money today and in the future. At the top of the agenda is saving money and growing the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Thanks to smart budgeting the proposed budget includes a deposit of more than $250 million into the state’s primary “savings account.
The total spending proposed is $33.997 billion, a 1.8% increase over the current fiscal year, which is in line with the rate of inflation. House Bill 790 now advances to the state Senate for further consideration.
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro did cast a “yes” vote for the budget bill today, praising the bill’s strong investments in education and job training but saying he was disappointed that it misses opportunities for realizing millions in savings by failing to address workers’ wages and closing loopholes for special interests.
“To be clear, there is a lot of good in this budget bill – particularly with regard to its substantial investment in education and the fact that it does not impose any new taxes on residents,” Bizzarro said. “At the same time, I’m disappointed that the budget contains some important missed opportunities.
“An essential part of our obligation when it comes to passing a budget is not just passing the budget on time but also passing a budget that saves money for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers. By failing to include a modest increase in the minimum wage that would help thousands of low-earning Pennsylvanians pull themselves off public assistance, we are missing out on savings of $100 million, according to a recent report by the Independent Fiscal Office. It’s not hard to image how the commonwealth could use those dollars. “That said, I’m not prepared to let the perfect stand in the way of the good. I voted for this budget because I believe that on balance, it contains a number of provisions that will benefit Pennsylvanians and working families. And in the final analysis, that’s the only measure that counts.”
State Representatives Pat Harkins and Bob Merski also cast votes in favor of the budget bill today, saying they believed that, although not perfect, the bill would make sound investments in the commonwealth’s future.