Stephens Backs House Budget, Sends Proposal to Senate for its Consideration

Difficult times led to a difficult decision’ 

After considerable deliberation and efforts to restore cuts that Gov. Tom Corbett proposed to education, Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) joined a majority of House members to approve a $27.3 billion plan.  

The proposal restores a half-billion dollars in education spending cuts without raising taxes. The budget passed by the House today would reduce state spending by 3 percent over last year's figures, a number necessitated for the most part by the loss of federal stimulus dollars. 

It includes $6.6 million more in funding than Corbett did for the school districts in the 151st District. 

“This was a difficult decision given some of the cuts we were forced to make due to reduced revenues but, like all households, state government must live within its means,” Stephens said. “It was important for me that we were able to restore most of the proposed cuts to our public schools, an effort I undertook the day the governor announced his plan.” 

The plan now moves to the Senate for its consideration. 

The House Republican proposal allots $100 million for the highly successful Accountability Block Grant program that provides school districts with flexible funding often used for pre-kindergarten programs, full-day kindergarten, and tutoring programs.  

The budget plan also redirects an additional $100 million back into the Basic Education Funding line, which is the primary funding stream for all 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. It also gives school districts $43 million to help pay for Social Security contributions.  

The House Republican budget also restores substantial funding – $387 million – for higher education. Of that, the budget dedicates $195 million to the 14 state-owned universities that make up the State System of Higher Education. Corbett proposed funding higher education at 47 percent of the current budget level. This budget increases that to 85 percent of the current year’s funding. 

To find the money necessary to make education a priority, House Republicans have shifted funds from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), which has been rife with inefficiency and abuse. The House has passed a number of reforms to help DPW save money, including a bill Stephens authored. 

“This is a responsible proposal,” Stephens said. “It gives the Senate a solid foundation on which to build as we move toward adoption of a final plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year.” 

State Representative Todd Stephens
151st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  David Foster

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