Wolf budget focuses on education, workforce development

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What to look for on Smart Talk, Wednesday February 6, 2019:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing a $34.1 billion 2019-2020 fiscal year budget for the state that focuses heavily on education and workforce development.

In his annual budget address Tuesday, Wolf outlined a broad plan of his priorities for Pennsylvania over the next 12 months. The governor started his budget message by saying he wasn’t asking for a tax increase. That’s even though Wolf’s plan calls for roughly a billion dollars in additional spending from the current fiscal year.

Some of the highlights include:

  • $13.7 billion for public education — a 3.3% increase.
  • Establishing a minimum salary for teachers of $45,000 annually
  • Increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 an hour by July 1 and increasing the minimum by 50 cent increments to $15 by 2025
  • Reducing the corporate net income tax from 9.99% to 5.99% by 2024
  • Allocating an addition $10 million for schools that provide technical and trade skills

Gov. Wolf also wants to enact a severance tax on natural gas drillers to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Appearing on Wednesday’s Smart Talk to provide analysis of the governor’s budget plan is Franklin and Marshall College political analyst and pollster Dr. G. Terry Madonna.