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Highlights of Pennsylvania’s 2018-19 budget package

The Associated Press
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Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
The Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.

HARRISBURG — Highlights of the budget package for Pennsylvania’s 2018-19 budget year that starts July 1:

The Big Picture

— Increases spending through the state’s main bank account to $32.7 billion, an increase of about $700 million in new spending, or 2.2 percent of this year’s enacted budget of $32 billion. Legislative officials say another $900 million is to be spent on Medicaid costs off-budget, a maneuver that critics say masks the true spending increase and the true cost of state government.

Taxes and Fees

— Does not increase tax rates on sales or income, the state’s two biggest sources of revenue.

— Does not impose a new severance tax on natural gas production.

— Imposes an increase of $75 million in an assessment on hospitals, a 34 percent increase.

— Creates a $102 million tax break by putting the state in line with a federal tax change letting corporations immediately expense 100 percent of a qualifying capital purchase.

— Expands the Educational Improvement Tax Credit by $25 to $160 million to help students attend parochial and private schools.

Education

— Increases aid for public school operations and instruction by $100 million, or nearly 2 percent, to $6.1 billion.

— Increases aid for programs to expand high-demand computer and industrial skills training in high schools and colleges by $40 million, or 62 percent, to $104 million.

— Increases early-childhood education funding by $25 million, or 11 percent, to $251 million.

— Increases special education funding by $15 million, or 1 percent, to $1.14 billion.

— Increases aid to Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education by $15 million, or 3 percent, to $468 million.

— Creates $60 million grant program for school safety through Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Corrections and Parole

— Grows about $100 million, or 4 percent, to $2.5 billion.

Pensions and Social Security

— Grows about $290 million, or 8 percent, to nearly $4 billion.

Human Services

— Grows about $700 million, or 6 percent, to about $13 billion.

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