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A Closer Look at the Budget
The 2022-23 state budget has been signed into law. Let’s talk about what it does.
The budget is good for business development and job creators. It cuts the Corporate Net Income Tax rate from 9.99% to 8.99%, while taking steps for a future reduction to 4.99%. The budget also expands expense deductions to help businesses buy equipment and grow their operations. All of this helps to bring Pennsylvania in line with other states.
The budget invests in law enforcement and mental health care. Not only does it increase Pennsylvania State Police funding by 17% (allowing the agency to hire 200 more troopers) and allocate $1.7 million for municipal police training, but it also seeks to get at the root causes of crime and violence by setting aside $135 million to improve mental health care access.
The budget makes historic investments in education. These include increases in early childhood and K-12 education, including additional basic-education funding of $1,076,097 for Derry Township School District, $611,956 for Lower Dauphin School District and $538,617 for Middletown Area School District. The Educational Income Tax Credit, which allows businesses to contribute to scholarships, will be expanded by $125 million. We’re also helping school districts ensure they have the mental health resources and safety measures they need with a total $200 million available to schools that apply for grants. These grants allow school officials to identify what works best for their buildings, staff and students.
The budget helps vulnerable families and seniors. It provides additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help homeowners and renters with utility bills, plus it will boost the dollar amount of rebates paid through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for low-income seniors.
The budget increases Medicaid rates for EMS providers and supports nursing homes. EMS companies will see Medicaid rates for basic life support increase by $145, advanced life support by $100 and mileage by $2 per mile. The budget infuses an additional $35 million into the nurse loan forgiveness program and $250 million to help long-term care providers, including nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, personal care homes, and home and community-based services.
The budget is good for Pennsylvania’s environment. Clean water initiatives will receive $220 million in federal relief funds, primarily to help farmers reduce nutrient runoff from their properties. One-third of Pennsylvania’s waterways are not safe for drinking, fishing or recreation. This does not bode well for future generations. Additionally, $156 million will support the repair, rehabilitation and development of parks and forest areas. We’re also funding grants for water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure projects as well as increasing funding for conservation districts.
The budget supports agriculture, which is Pennsylvania’s leading industry. It greatly expands testing capacity and research into diseases like avian flu. Approximately $3 million is set aside for combatting spotted lanternflies. Additionally, the Penn State Extension will receive a 5% increase to provide science-based education and information.
The budget looks to the future. It pays down debt, including $1.7 billion to bring Medicaid to more timely payments and $42 million of outstanding debt in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. Some $2.1 billion will be deposited into the Rainy Day Fund, which is essentially a savings account, to position the Commonwealth for future economic downturns.
To be clear, this budget isn’t perfect. No spending plan is. However, wisdom was used when deciding how best to allocate federal stimulus dollars to the people and industries that need them the most. This budget puts the needs of people above the wants of government.
Please use the contact information contained within this email to ask questions about the budget. I welcome your feedback.