Better schools, a stronger workforce, safer communities, and more opportunities.
Every year, only a few days after the most famous groundhog in the world emerges from his cozy home in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania's governor introduces a budget proposal for the next fiscal year before a joint session of the General Assembly. This budget address kicks off a months-long process where state lawmakers examine the draft spending plan and then meet with stakeholders from across the commonwealth to ensure their interests are represented in the state budget that will be passed later in the year.
In his budget address this year, Governor Wolf outlined his vision for the commonwealth, noting several of the state's accomplishments over the past few years, including restoring funding to schools, reducing the number of opioid deaths, and strengthening the workforce.
He also introduced exciting new initiatives.
Are you a college student attending one of the 14 state system universities? The governor introduced the Nelly Bly Scholarship Program – a $200 million tuition program that will help college students earn degrees with fewer loans so they can build a life in Pennsylvania. A $60 million boost to the state grant program will also help make college more affordable.
During his address, Governor Wolf also reinforced how much he wants every child in Pennsylvania to have access to high-quality educational opportunities. That's why he's continuing to invest more in Pennsylvania's public schools – including an additional $100 million for basic education and $25 million for special education funding.
And by reforming Pennsylvania's outdated charter school law, another $280 million would be available for school districts to implement programs like full-day kindergarten.
For Pennsylvania's earliest learners, the governor is calling for funding to boost slots in programs like Pre-K Counts, Head Start, and Early Intervention.
Read the transcript of Governor Wolf's 2020 budget address.
View summaries of funding levels for the state education appropriations in Governor Wolf's proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.
How does the budget process work?
Over the next few weeks, many state agency and other leaders will take turns testifying before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Secretary Pedro Rivera is scheduled to testify before the Senate on February 27 and the House on March 2. Unlike many other members of Governor Wolf's Cabinet who testify before each committee for only a few hours, the legislative committees schedule an entire day to hear from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
After the budget hearings wrap up in early March, lawmakers will debate the state budget in each legislative chamber. A final budget must be signed into law by June 30.
Learn more about the budget process in Pennsylvania via the Office of the Budget's website.