An Overview of Pennsylvania’s 2011-12 State Budget

State legislative leaders and Governor Tom Corbett agreed on a 2011-12 state budget deal this week, and on Tuesday, the state Senate approved it on a 30-20 party-line vote. The bill heads to the House of Representatives next.

It would spend just $27.2 billion, down $962 million, or 3.4%, from the 2010-11 budget.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will have a detailed analysis of the budget later in the week, but for now we will highlight funding levels for major programs. You can view budget tables detailing funding levels by major department and highlights of education funding levels.

Education

The biggest cuts, in both dollars and percentages, are in education programs, including PreK-12 and higher education. While the budget makes some funding restorations from the Governor’s original budget proposal, the cuts are still significant:

  • Basic education funding, at $5.35 billion is cut $421.5 million, or 7.3%, from the current year.
  • Funding for Accountability Block Grants, at $100 million, is cut by $159 million, or 61%.
  • Special education is flat-funded for the third year at just over $1 billion.
  • Charter School reimbursements are fully eliminated (a loss of $224 million).
  • Funding was also eliminated for Educational Assistance (a tutoring program) and school improvement grants.
  • Both Head Start and PreK Counts were cut by about 3%.

The cuts in major education programs total $863 million.

Higher education fared much better under the final budget but still sustained cuts of about 18%, or $160 million. Penn State University received a cut of 19%, or $50 million, in basic support. Community colleges will see a 10% cut, or $23.6 million.

Health Care and Public Welfare

Total spending in the Department of Public Welfare fell by just 0.4% from current expenditure levels, but that number masks reductions in health care and other services for vulnerable Pennsylvanians.

Funding was cut for Medical Assistance-Outpatient ($24.4 million) and for Medical Assistance-Capitation ($12.7 million). Funding for Medical Assistance-Inpatient was increased $18.5 million. The Medical Assistance Transportation Program was cut $8.5 million.

Funding for county child welfare was cut by 4%, or $45 million. Child care funding is cut by 10%, or $35 million. $3.3 million was restored for community-based family centers, which saw all $6.3 million of their funding erased in the Governor’s budget.

Cash grants were cut by 16%, or $44 million. Funding for the TANF job training and support program — New Directions — was just about cut in half to $17.2 million.

Behavioral health funding was cut by 10%. or $5.3 million. Funding for health care clinics was cut from $2.5 million down to $1 million.

Housing and Other Services

The Governor’s budget had zeroed out more than $23.5 million provided through the Human Services Development Fund to give counties flexible funds for human services such as housing assistance, adult day care, home delivered meals and transportation services. The final budget restores the fund to $14.9 million, still a cut of $8.5 million.

The Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program is cut from $10.5 million down to $2 million. $17.8 million for housing and redevelopment assistance is gone.

Detailed Budget Analysis to Come

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will put out a more detailed budget analysis later in the week. Check our web site for updates.

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