Gov. Tom Wolf’s eighth and final budget proposal would push state spending well past $43 billion for the first time, as the Democrat asks lawmakers for the biggest-ever increase in aid for public schools, plus more money for direct care workers, higher-education institutions and college scholarships.
Wolf delivered the $43.7 billion proposal to lawmakers Tuesday before he was to address them in a joint session of the House and Senate.
An economy juiced with federal pandemic subsidies is expected to deliver a multibillion-dollar surplus.
Given the state’s big cash cushion, Wolf is proposing no change to state income or sales taxes.
Republican lawmakers, however, have long been leery of Wolf’s proposed spending increases, and they suggested that Wolf’s starting bid in budget negotiations was a “fantasy” that not even Wolf himself would sign into law.
After years of stubborn deficits dating back to the recession, the state’s bank accounts are now flush from an economy juiced with federal pandemic subsidies, and a multibillion-dollar surplus — an eye-popping $6.5 billion is projected for the coming year.