Here's the latest from the state Capitol

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Here's the latest from the state Capitol

On Oct. 30, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a revenue bill and several remaining budget bills passed by the state Senate and House last week.

On Nov. 6, Gov. Wolf allowed an omnibus School Code bill to go into law without his signature. The bill includes changes to educators’ seniority rights and furlough rules. PSEA opposed these changes from the beginning. But, thanks to PSEA members’ advocacy, Gov. Wolf, and our legislative allies, the plan ensures that seniority is the determining factor in furlough decisions for the overwhelming majority of educators.

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How we got here

On Oct. 4, Gov. Wolf took matters into his own hands to resolve the budget impasse and make sure the state can pay its bills in light of repeated failures in the state House to pass a responsible plan to pay for the state budget.

The governor’s announcement followed state representatives voting 115-83 to kill a plan for a fair tax on Marcellus Shale drillers, which would have helped to close the budget gap.

“Gov. Wolf’s leadership under these difficult circumstances helped Pennsylvania to move forward during months of inaction in the state House,” said PSEA President Dolores McCracken. “His leadership ensured that our public schools continued to receive state funding to help students learn.”

On June 30, the General Assembly passed a state budget that includes public school spending priorities championed by PSEA members and Gov. Wolf.

And on July 27, the state Senate approved a revenue package that includes a $100 million severance tax on Marcellus Shale drilling. This is an important move toward enacting a very popular and fair tax to ensure that natural gas drillers pay their fair share.

On Sept. 13, knowing the state’s Treasury was nearly empty, the state House rejected the bipartisan revenue package agreed upon by the state Senate and Gov. Wolf, passing an amended bill that lacks recurring revenue to prevent future budget impasses. State senators voted 43-7 to reject this plan on Sept. 20.

The bipartisan budget plan that became law on July 10 includes key public school spending priorities, including:

  • A $100 million increase in basic education funding.
  • A $25 million increase in special education funding.
  • A $30 million increase in pre-kindergarten funding.
  • Restoration of $50 million in cuts to school transportation funding.