2014-15 state budget includes increases for economic development, education

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Gov. Tom Corbett appears in a screenshot from PCN during his 2014-15 budget at the state Capitol.

Gov. Tom Corbett appears in a screenshot from PCN during his 2014-15 budget at the state Capitol.

Gov. Tom Corbett presented his $29.4B 2014-15 budget proposal Tuesday, which increases spending by $925 million, or 3.3 percent, over last year.

The budget, which includes no new taxes, increases spending for education and economic development programs by 3.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. The plan also spends more money on seniors and roads and bridges.

“With increased funding in education and a focus on job retention and attraction and international business development, the state is poised to create jobs through its Jobs First program and expand the economy,” said Ryan Unger, Chief Operating Officer, Team Pennsylvania Foundation.

Steve Kratz, Press Secretary, Department of Community and Economic Development, said the budget moves the state forward while keeping costs, and taxes, in check.

“Thanks to three years of fiscal restraint, Pennsylvania is able to make new, responsible investments in education, health and human services, and jobs and workforce development,” Kratz said. “While we are making new investments, this budget spends a total of $29.4 billion, once again spending no more than we take in while creating success by expanding opportunities and not raising taxes.”

Here are the key highlights of his budget for the Department of Education and for the Department of Community and Economic Development, two of Team PA’s closest public sector partners:

Education 

  • $341 million in total Ready to Learn funding, including $241 million new funding for school districts that focus on student achievement and academic success, and funding for the Accountability Block Grant that supports pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten and other educational programs at the current level of $100 million;
  • $25 million through  the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency for Ready to Succeed scholarships to make higher education opportunities more affordable to middle-income families;
  • $20 million increase in special education funding;
  • $10 million in new funding for competitive grants to support schools in developing and implementing new educational strategies in the classroom that customize a student’s education and improve student performance;
  • $9.5 million increase for early Intervention to serve approximately 1,500 additional children from ages 3 through 5; and
  • $4.6 million, or 8.6 percent, increase to support existing state and federally mandated assessment tests.

Economic Development

  • $5 million increase for Pennsylvania First in support of Jobs1st PA initiative, including a $2 million increase to the WEDnetPA job training program to train an additional 10,000 employees and an additional $3 million to the base program;
  • $500,000 increase to the Partnership for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) partners to offer Total Cost Ownership consulting for technical assistance to manufacturers that have moved manufacturing operations overseas and are interested in bringing the jobs back to Pennsylvania;
  • $604,000 additional funding for the World Trade PA program to expand promotion of Pennsylvania exports in key international markets and to attract foreign investment;
  • $1 million increase for the Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program to provide financial aid grants to meet workforce needs;
  • $2 million in incentive grants through JOBS1st PA and the Reemployment Fund to spur direct contact between job seekers and local job creators;
  • $1 million in new state funds will allow for the drawdown of an additional $3.8 million in available federal funds for the Jobs for All program, an initiative to promote the hiring of disabled people;
  • Continued funding of $9.9 million for the Discovered in PA – Developed in PA program, which helps move ideas more quickly from the lab to the marketplace;
  •  An increase of $1.25 million to bolster statewide travel, tourism and film-related economic development; and
  • $1.1 million increase to enhance Pennsylvania’s ability to market the state as a location for job creators through the Marketing to Attract Business program.

The budget also continues the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise tax, which was a recommendation of the Team PA-administered Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council.

 

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