Rapp Votes in Favor of First-Ever State Budget

Applauds final 2011-12 state budget for fiscal responsibility, unprecedented public education investment and providing mandate relief to save school districts up to $500,000 

For the first-time since taking office in 2005, Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) voted in favor of the final 2011-12 state budget (House Bill 1485) last week. 

“After rejecting six consecutive unsustainable Rendell state budgets, I am pleased to support the 2011-12 state budget because it succeeds in not increasing the tax burden on Pennsylvania’s working citizens and job creators, while restoring $100 million for Accountability Block Grants that are extremely important to the rural school districts I represent to spend as they see fit on pre-K, all-day kindergarten and after-school tutoring programs,” said Rapp.   “It also benefits our regional Higher Education Council by increasing funding to the State System of Higher Education, state-related universities and community colleges to $1.6 billion.” 

Containing no tax increases, no new borrowing and totaling $27.1 billion, which is slightly lower than the original $27.3 billion spending limit set by Gov. Tom Corbett’s March budget proposal, specific 2011-12 state budget details include:   

  • $1.17 billion (4.1 percent) spending reduction from the 2010-11 state budget.   Passage of the 2011-12 state budget represents only the third time in nearly 40 years that state government will be spending less than the previous fiscal year. 
  • $404 million in House Republican proposed reductions to the governor’s originally proposed Department of Welfare (DPW) budget.    DPW will receive $10.5 billion under the new General Fund budget. 
  • Restoration of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax phase-out to provide Pennsylvania’s job creators with approximately $70 million in needed tax relief.  
  • Elimination of nearly 100 wasteful, non-essential or duplicative line-items and government programs. 
  • Absolutely zero-funding for so-called WAMs or “walking around money” previously made available to the governor, Legislature and politically connected special interests. 
  • More than 34 percent of total budget spending goes to PreK-12 education—the $5.35 billion basic education subsidy represents the single largest investment of state tax dollars for public education in state history.  

Rapp is especially pleased that her legislation to temporarily lift the public education mandate requiring professional development for certified school teachers and administrators (House Bill 1363) was incorporated into the 2011-12 state budget’s education omnibus amendment. 

Specifically, Rapp’s two-year moratorium applies to the 180 hours of continuing education required every five years for Pennsylvania public school certificate holders.   However, the decision on whether to relax the continuing education requirement will be left up to local school districts. 

Nothing in this moratorium prevents public school teachers or administrators from continuing their education, but school districts would have the option of choosing not to pay for this program.   In addition, the continuing education moratorium does not apply to any continuing education training deemed necessary by the Pennsylvania Department of Education or the federal government. 

“The purpose of this moratorium is to give local districts up to $500,000 in extra flexibility to address their most important fiscal priorities, while still providing quality academic programs,” said Rapp.   “In short, Pennsylvania school districts now have an additional cost-cutting strategy to balance their budgets and even less of an excuse to raise taxes on local property owners.”  

For the latest legislative updates, visit RepRapp.com

State Representative Kathy Rapp
65th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Ty McCauslin

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