Budget Update Governor uses line item veto on state budget
In a press conference this morning, Gov. Wolf announced that he exercised his constitutional authority to line item veto the state budget that was passed by the Senate on Dec. 23rd and delivered to his desk on the 24th (House Bill 1406, P.N. 2626, Letter to the House with veto). The governor expressed clear discontent and discouragement with the legislature in passing a budget that provided a net "$95 million cut to education" funding, which was far from the previous agreement that would have provided a $350 million increase to basic education and $50 million increase to special education. The budget delivered to the governor would have offered a more modest $100 million increase to basic education funding, but cut all necessary funding for school buildings and construction (PlanCon).
The governor will push out emergency funding to school districts so that they may continue to operate. The emergency funding amount is based on six months of the amount appropriated for 2014-15, or just over $2.5 billion to fund schools immediately for the first half of the fiscal year. The details of the line item veto and 2015-16 enacted budget are available online.
PSBA is encouraged that Governor Wolf has released the federal funds as well as a portion of the state funds needed to keep Pennsylvania students in schools.
It is important to continue to call on the legislature and governor to work toward a full education budget agreement that significantly invests in the future of Pennsylvania and provides pension reform for school districts. While the crisis has not been finally resolved, it is encouraging that school districts will receive the money needed to open their doors again in the new year.