How’s the PA budget coming along?

17 May 2024 – The Pennsylvania budget is scheduled to be done by June 30. In past years, that deadline hasn’t happened.

One issue with the PA budget that’s been around for a long time is the funding for schools in the state.

Schools pass their individual budgets before the state budget is passed. As a result, the schools don’t technically know how much money could be coming from PA and often that results in increased taxes for residents.

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I guess they’re going to be $2.6 million short here in Franklin County. So they’re putting a budget forth for 4% more on taxpayers, with still being short $2.6 million. My question is, do we know how much Chambersburg is going to get yet? Do you know what the early number is yet?”

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “We don’t know, but I think when they pass that budget, they will be passing it anticipating that most of that shortfall, if not all of it will be made up by additional dollars from Harrisburg. I would assume that there will be significant additional funding coming from Harrisburg.”

Do legislators get to see proposed numbers?

Kauffman said, “If we have a budget that we’re voting or a proposal that we’re voting on the House floor, we will get to see the numbers that are driven out to our school districts in that budget. The very very rosy pictures of just spending the money like there’s no tomorrow, those budget pictures would send a lot of money to our local school districts, more than honestly is fiscally prudent. So I think the process that they’re going through, it’s very difficult because very frankly, we should be the ones doing the budget first. The process is backward, but it is what it is. I think they certainly can anticipate a significant windfall from the Commonwealth.”

Ryan said, “Year after year we talk about they should know what they’re coming up with. The whole thing is flipped, the school district to Harrisburg. Has anybody brought up any conversation about we should flip this? This would be better for the taxpayers and if they do get more money it wouldn’t be such a rip off. Because if you get more than $2.6 million, even if it’s $2.7 million, then we rollback the taxes or we get money back, it never happens that way. Anybody ever talk about that?”

“Yes,” Kauffman confirmed. “There’s also been legislation drafted that would move those timelines. Very frankly, the education establishment who love the uncertainty because they always end up winning out in the end as far as the funding going to school districts.”

Ryan asked, “They do realize it’s their own tax money as well, right? You’re forwarding you’re forwarding your own demise out of your own wallet. You’re that stupid that you’re doing yourself in. That’s okay with you just as long as you serve the God that you’re serving.”

Kauffman said, “It’s everybody protecting or trying to see their own turf get more green.”

“But they’re still screwing themselves,” Ryan insisted.

Kauffman said, “Well, logic doesn’t always work out for some folks.”

Will the budget actually be done on time this year?

Kauffman said, “One thing that I am encouraged somewhat by is that, House Republicans have bills drafted, proposed that would give money back to the taxpayers. I saw the Senate actually moving legislation as such, when they were in session last time in in giving money back to the taxpayers. Some people they will scoff at that. But the reality is, you see it on a daily basis, you get emails, I get emails from people on a daily basis who think there’s money in the kitty so we should spend it all. Well, the opposite of spending it all for me is giving it back to the taxpayers so the government doesn’t have the opportunity to spend it all.”