Over the last three budgets, Gov. Wolf has adopted the themes of “schools that teach, jobs that pay and government that works.” Though not using those exact phrases today, in his fourth budget address, Wolf proposed a $32.9 billion budget with those three tenets woven throughout.
Citing specific examples of where the General Assembly and the Governor have worked together to deliver results to the citizens, Wolf pledged to continue his efforts to reduce costs and streamline government, proposing once again to consolidate the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services and proposing a new $2.5 million appropriation for streamlined DEP regulatory operations. He is also proposing additional measures by which the government can work better for Pennsylvanians, such as:
- Increasing and supporting opportunities for women and families through a $30 million increase in investments in child care;
- Continued funding to fight the opioid epidemic, including $26.5 million in 21st Century Cures Act funding and $4.5 million for services to families affected by substance abuse disorders;
- Increased funding for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism;
- Continued efforts to maintain lottery and pension solvency; and
- Investments in transportation and infrastructure totaling $300 million, as well as $53 million to modernize the Statewide Radio System.
This year’s budget also proposes that “government that works” includes a duty to improve the state’s fiscal future. To that end, Wolf is proposing:
- A full phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax;
- Full implementation of combined reporting;
- A gradual step-down of the Corporate Net Income Tax to 7.99% by 2023;
- A severance tax estimated to generate nearly $250 million in new revenue; and
- Renewed efforts to implement opportunities for gaming expansion.