Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee advanced a state budget proposal (House Bill 218) that signals the proverbial beginning to the annual state budget process. APC staff has analyzed this proposal on its possible impacts to the overall construction program and issues affecting transportation funding.
In February, Governor Wolf proposed an overall $32.3 billion spending plan, which represents a decrease of approximately $570 million over last fiscal year. The House GOP advanced a $31.5 billion plan that would decrease state spending by an overall $815 million over last year.
By way of background, Governor Wolf proposed a $63 million cut in funding to the PA State Police from the state’s Motor License Fund (MLF). The Motor License Fund is the constitutionally created funding source for the majority of PennDOT’s operations and highway construction and maintenance program. The governor also proposed to offset this $63 million reduction to the State Police by calling for the imposition of a $25 per capita fee on municipalities relying solely on the State Police for its community policing efforts.
The most significant point in the House budget proposal is that it carries forward this $63 million reduction as well as cuts the MLF portion to the PSP by another $1.3 million from what the Governor proposed. Therefore, it appears at this point in the process that the House may be willing to consent to the $25 reimbursement fee proposal or have another proposal of its own that has yet to be seen. Or, if no reimbursement proposal is enacted, the State Police would stand to lose over $65 million in funds under both proposals. APC will continue to monitor this closely as the budget process continues.
Other items of note are:
- •The House also proposed another $3.5 million reduction in the State Police Budget from the General Fund. Governor Wolf already proposed a $13.5 million reduction in General Fund monies to the State Police.
- PennDOT’s budget appears to be largely intact but that’s mainly due to the fact that PennDOT receives very little General Fund appropriations. Only approximately $1.6 million comes from the General Fund that that is primarily earmarked for vehicle sales tax collections and voter registration operations.
APC will continue to provide updates as the budget process unfolds in the upcoming weeks and months.