Pennsylvania Capitol Building. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).
The Pennsylvania Senate will return for a voting session next week, nearly three weeks ahead of schedule, to work on finalizing the 2023-24 budget.
“Our work to complete the necessary budgetary implementation legislation continues at this time and the Senate will reconvene on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. to finalize the 2023-2024 state budget,” Senate Republican Caucus spokesperson Kate Flessner said in a statement. “We are in communication with House leaders, and we remain hopeful the House will also choose to reconvene before September 26.”
The 2024 fiscal year budget is incomplete, even though Gov. Josh Shapiro signed a $45.5 billion spending plan on Aug. 3, just over a month after the June 30 end of the fiscal year. That spending plan released state funding for public schools, county human services agencies, and other programs that rely on state tax dollars. It was Shapiro’s first budget as governor.
Several programs remain without funding, however, and Shapiro budget secretary Uri Monson said in a memo to the governor and legislative leaders when the funding package was signed that money for programs — including school mental health grants, the first-ever state funding for public defenders, a rate increase for emergency medical services, relief for hospitals, and several others — would not be available until the General Assembly passes fiscal code bills required to authorize the spending.
In a statement Monday, Senate Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, said funding for emergency medical services and hospital and health system relief would be on the agenda when the Senate reconvenes.
The state House has not yet scheduled any sessions ahead of its planned Sept. 26 return.
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