Wolf Budget Calls for 9.5% Spending Increase
Gov. Tom Wolf gave his final 2022-23 budget address yesterday. Where previous budgets called for a package of new taxes, including a municipal tax for the Pennsylvania State Police and a natural gas severance tax, this budget does not ask for any tax increases. Instead, it calls for spending federal funds, including $5.1 billion of American Rescue Plan funds for various programs and projects and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds to rebuild roads and bridges, remediate the environment, plug wells, and expand access to broadband, clean drinking water and more state employees.
As predicted in Morning News, more State Police funding is proposed to be transferred from the commonwealth’s General Fund rather than the Motor License Fund, allowing for more gas tax funds to be spent on roads and bridges. The budget also requests $7.7 million for law enforcement technology, such as mobile video recorders and body-worn cameras, and $35 million in grants and technical assistance for community-led violence prevention efforts.
Wolf did again request a $15 per hour minimum wage increase (starting at $12 this year) and childcare benefits for state employees. He asked for $5 million to fill positions in the state Department of Environmental Protection and another $2.5 million for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Click here to view the budget.