PoliticsPA has learned House Republicans are set to introduce their proposed 2017-18 budget today in the House Appropriations Committee. The proposed budget will set the tone of the Republican message against Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal.
A caucus source briefed PoliticsPA on the topline House GOP budget messaging: the budget will total $31.52 billion in spending and it will continue the Republicans push the Republican position of no new taxes and no new borrowing. That is $810M less than the $32.33 billion Wolf proposed.
Wolf’s proposed budget was centered more on spending cuts, adopting the traditionally Republican message.
Republicans are returning the favor. Their proposal spends more on education than Wolf’s, seeking to co-opt one of the Governor’s top issues.
House Republicans are proposing $11.8 billion in education funding, including increases to the general education fund, Pre-K counts, and head start. This is more than the $11.7 billion Wolf proposed in his budget, and would total over $1 billion in education over the last two years.
It’s reminiscent of 2015, when the GOP sought the high ground on education in the first budget battle after Wolf won office on a promise of increasing school funding.
There is an important caveat: the parties regularly disagree about education funding beyond the topline number. Democrats typically focus on classroom spending, where Republicans also factor in pension obligations. The distribution mechanism of funding across school districts is also a frequent point of contention.
An apples-to-apples comparison will be possible when the House GOP releases its full budget this afternoon.