As Governor Wolf’s second budget address is getting under way, here are major highlights from the press conference with Budget Secretary Randy Albright:
- The proposed budget will be $32.7 billion.
- Property tax reform will not be in the address, but wants legislators to take up this call.
- Governor Wolf is calling for a minimum wage increase to $10.15 an hour.
- The state’s pension obligation will raise by $500 million dollars, but this will be the last increase in pension debt. After this increase in unfunded liabilities, the state will be able to meet their pension obligations from here on out. However, this does not change the Governor’s support for pension reform.
- The governor will renew his push for a severance tax on the Marcellus Shale at 6.5 percent, plus the impact fee.
- The State System of Higher Education may see a 5 percent increase in funding. This pushes back the governor’s original goal of restoring the 2011 cuts in two years to four years.
- Basic education will see an increase in $200 million, making the funding higher than Governor Rendell’s last year in office.
- Proposed tax increases are: PIT from 3.04% to 3.4%, a dollar increase on a pack of cigarettes, 40 percent tax on all tobacco products and a gaming promotional play tax of 8 percent.
These are just some of the highlights from the 2016 – 2017 budget address. More coverage to come afterwards.