Thursday, July 6, 2023

House Passes $45.5 Billion State Budget Including Funding For More Staff At DEP; Shapiro To Veto Voucher Funding Wanted By Republicans; Bill Must Still Be Signed In Senate To Be Presented To The Governor

On July 5, House Democrats passed the $45.5 billion state General Fund budget bill agreed to be Senate Republicans and Gov. Shapiro --
House Bill 611 (Harris-D-Philadelphia).  

Due to House Democrat opposition to a new $100 million “Lifeline Scholarship” program to cover tuition, tutoring and educational expenses outside the public school system, Gov. Shapiro said he will line-item veto that funding until differences over the program can be worked out between the House Democrats and Senate Republicans.  Read more here.

Gov. Shapiro said he still supports the funding.

In a statement, Senate GOP leaders Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong) said Gov. Shapiro had “decided to betray the good faith agreement we reached.”

They added, “the General Appropriation bill is not the final step in the budget process. The Senate will continue to await legislative action by the House on the remaining budgetary components, to see what House Democrats, with the slimmest majority, are able to advance.”  Read more here.

Before the bill can be presented to the Governor for his signature, it must be formally signed by the officers of the House and Senate.

The House Speaker has signed the bill, but so far the Republican President Pro Tempore of the Senate has not called the Senate back into limited session for the purpose of signing the bill.

There is no time limit on when a bill must be signed after it is passed by both the Senate and House.

There has been one instance since 1992 when the Senate refused to sign a bill properly passed by the House and Senate and therefore the bill was never presented to the Governor for his action-- House Bill 1828 amending the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act adopting the procedures for preventing and paying for surface property damage from longwall underground coal mining.

The bill had to be passed again in the next legislative session and became Act 54 of 1994.

Budget Passed By Senate/House

The General Fund budget passed by the Senate and House has these major appropriations--


-- Overall: 6.4% increase to $240.9 million

-- Increases for Animal Health/Diagnostics, Food Security, Hardwoods Promotion


-- Overall: 0.1% increase to $152.1 million

-- $56 Million increase for State Parks & Infrastructure Projects from Oil & Gas Lease Fund

-- Increases in personnel line-items from Oil & Gas Lease Fund

-- $148,000 increase for Heritage Parks

DEP (referred to as “Environmental Services”)

-- Overall: 10.9% increase to $202.9 million

-- Increases for line items for personnel costs: General Operations, Environmental Program Management & Operations and is said to include the funding for new staff requested by Gov. Shapiro

-- Increases for Black Fly Control, West Nile Virus & Other Mosquito-borne viruses

Click Here for the General Fund budget spreadsheet.  [House Democrats]. 

Click Here for narrative description of budget changes.  [House Democrats]


-- Spotlight PA - Stephen Caruso: Bad Blood, Technicalities, Complicate Code Bills Keep The PA State Budget In Limbo

-- PennLive - Jan Murphy: PA Budget’s State Of Play: Stuck In Overtime With No Immediate End In Sight

-- Inquirer: Winners And Losers In Gov. Shapiro’s First Budget Battle So Far

-- AP: PA Governor Calls On Divided Legislature To Finalize State Budget Past Deadline

-- Senate Has Not Signed And Sent To Governor House Bill 611 General Fund Budget

-- Senate Has Not Signed And Sent To Governor House Bill 1100 Expanding Property Tax, Rent Rebate For Seniors

-- Politics PA: Gov. Shapiro Calls On PA Senate To Return To Harrisburg To Finish State Budget; Says Senate Republicans Didn’t Close The Deal With House Democrats  

-- The Center Square: Bipartisanship Shatters After Shapiro Washes Hands Of Budget Compromise

-- WESA: Republicans Are Mad And Democrats Are Confused After Gov. Shapiro’s Private School Voucher Budget Gambit

Related Articles - Budget:

-- Gov. Shapiro’s Budget Proposes Major Initiative To Speed Up DEP Permit Reviews/ Inspections; Double Oil & Gas Fund Investment In State Parks/Forests Infrastructure  [PaEN]

-- DEP Budget Testimony: Increasing Permitting Efficiency, Cleaning Up Legacy Pollution, Investing In Communities, Holding Companies Accountable  [PaEN]

-- DEP Offers 10 Point Plan To Improve Permit Reviews; Climate/Energy Work Group Co-Chairs Announced; Work Group Formed To Prevent New Oil & Gas Well Abandonments  [PaEN]

-- DEP Acting Secretary Wants To Encourage A Culture Of Being User-Friendly At DEP And Used The Train Derailment Response As An Example  [PaEN]

-- DEP Acting Secretary Negrin: All Climate Change Is Local - We Are Guardians Of Our Neighborhoods, We Are To Act In Service To Our Neighbors  [PaEN]

-- House Budget Hearing: Acting DEP Secretary Outlines His Views On Environmental Justice, Announces Fernando TreviƱo As Special Deputy For Environmental Justice  [PaEN]

[Posted: July 6, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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