HARRISBURG – Facing an uncertain economic future and working to address the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Senate today set a course for recovery by approving a $25.8 billion interim budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21, as well as a plan to direct $2.6 billion in federal CARES funding to support individuals, small businesses, organizations and county governments that were most severely impacted by the virus, according to State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33).
The interim budget will fund critical state services until the long-term impacts of Governor Wolf’s shutdown of the economy are fully known and more accurate fiscal projections can be made. The CARES funding will help mitigate the damage done.
“Our primary focus must be on rebuilding Pennsylvania in the wake of this deadly virus and the resulting statewide closure of our economy,” said Mastriano. “Passing a lean, responsible, short-term budget now gives us the flexibility to meet the needs of our communities today, while we get a clearer picture of the long-term impacts of this virus in the future.”
House Bill 2387 is an interim spending plan that provides five months of funding for most state agencies and services. The appropriations in HB2387 are based primarily on current funding for agencies and services in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget, but allocated at a five-month level.
Full-year funding is provided for a few select line items, notably for education and food security programs.
“Pennsylvania school districts and food programs are not pawns to be used as part of the pandemic,” said Mastriano. “It’s our job as elected leaders to provide stability for our communities in an unstable time.”
“This interim budget maintains our commitment to ensuring that all Pennsylvania students – from the new learners in our early education programs to the Commonwealth’s future leaders now enrolled in our great colleges and universities – have access to a quality education,” said Mastriano. “Even amid the tremendous uncertainty that comes with budgeting during a pandemic, Senate Republicans believe it is essential that we provide a full-year funding commitment to education at all levels.”
Senate Bill 1108 appropriates a portion of Pennsylvania’s federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) funding for critical needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding in the package includes:
- $692 million for long-term living services providers.
- $625 million for counties that did not receive a direct subsidy from the federal government.
- $260 million for providers of intellectual disability and autism services.
- $225 million to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses recover.
- $175 million to provide rent and mortgage assistance to low- and middle–income families impacted by the pandemic.
- $150 million to help school districts meet the challenges created by COVID-19 through school safety and security funding.
- $116 million for child-care services.
- $72.2 million to support higher education students.
- $50 million to support first responders.
- $40 million for agricultural and food insecurity programs.
- $28 million for community programs, including domestic violence programs ($10 million), homeless assistance ($10 million) and legal services ($8 million).
- $20 million for Cultural and Museum organizations.
- $9 million for early childhood education programs ($7 million for Pre-K Counts and $2 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance).