Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature have wrapped up a budget a week before Pennsylvania state government’s new fiscal year starts.
It’s an about-face after three years of protracted partisan fights over spending. Besides that, the budget is perhaps a milestone for overcoming persistent deficits and 2011’s cuts to education aid, while lawmakers were animated by the Florida high school shooting in February.
Some state officials suggest that Pennsylvania has turned a corner from the past decade of persistent post-recession deficits and Sen. Vincent Hughes says new school funding in the budget package finally helps resolve a deep budget-balancing cut in state aid to schools in 2011.
Meanwhile, lawmakers approved a state-administered school safety grant program that will be seeded initially with $60 million.