DEMOCRATIC APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
The budget agreement funds a $28.264 billion General Fund budget, including a $1.08 billion, 3.98% budget increase and no new taxes. Spending increases are targeted to Education, Public Welfare and Corrections programs in the new budget. Significant increases include a 9% increase in child welfare over fiscal year 2007-08 and a $275 million increase in the Basic Education Subsidy. Major funding highlights for the City include an estimated $100 million basic education increase and a $26 million increase in Child Welfare.
Details regarding specific changes in funding levels and their effects on the City of Philadelphia follow.
* Includes some local matching funds
The enabling legislation for Cover All Kids was passed in the fall of 2006. For fiscal year 2008-09, the budget includes $86.9 million in state funds and $247 million in federal funds to cover a total of 17,866 additional children. Current enrollment in the CHIP program is 167,581 as of June 2008.
The Department of Public Welfare has certified child welfare expenditures of $721 million for the City of Philadelphia for FY2008-09. This represents an increase of 3.6% over what the Department certified the city to spend in FY 07-08.
The Human Services Development Fund (HSDF) continues to be a key issue for the City of Philadelphia. The City’s share of the total $35.03 million is expected to be $6.8 million.
In the City of Philadelphia, state funds for aging services are allocated to the Philadelphia Corporation on Aging. Services include nutrition, employment, transportation, domestic care, personal protection, long-term care assessment and both basic and intensive in-home services. In the FY 2008-09 budget, the Philadelphia Corporation on Aging should expect to receive approximately a 2% increase, $53.2 million.
Public Library Services
The FY 2008-09 budget provides for level funding in the Public Library Subsidy.
It is estimated that the Free Library of Philadelphia will receive roughly $9.4 million in public library subsidies in FY2008-09.
School District of Philadelphia
The budget provides a $100 million boost to the School District of Philadelphia. The school district would receive a $50.8 million increase, 5.76% over last year in basic education subsidy funding. Act 114 of 2006 required the State Board of Education to complete a “Costing Out Study, to determine the cost of providing an adequate public education. The report determined the need to increase state and local support by approximately $4.6 billion. The increase in the basic subsidy initiates the Governor’s goal of a six year state phase- in of the recommended adequacy spending targets. A negotiated agreement reduced the Governor’s proposed increase in basic subsidy funding for the school district by $34 million, but replaced all of that lost revenue by enacting changes for charter school reimbursements, non-public and charter school pupil transportation.
The proposed budget would have provided an increase for special education of 3 percent, but because of across the board reductions of 1.3%, the result for this funding was a reduction to $16.8 million, still an increase of 1.66%. Similar modest cuts also reduced PA Accountability Block Grants and Educational Assistance Grants.
* This amount is pending the audited economic stipend FTE’s
The FY 2008-09 budget provides for an increase in operating funds for community colleges by 3%, an additional $6.9 million. In addition, a total of $44.5 million was appropriated to the Community College Capital Fund to be distributed to the community colleges statewide.
State funding for the state-aided institutions, listed above, varies from some minor increases to 50% reductions for those with medical programs. In total, these institutions will receive a total of $75.4 million. The reductions for medical programs reflect the Governor’s initiative, “Federalizing Physician Practice Plans.” This initiative would leverage $8.8 million in federal Medicaid funds for university- affiliated physician practice plans associated with Philadelphia Health and Education Corporation, the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University. Federal funds will be passed on to the institutions.
Additional State Funding Medical Assistance Funding for Academic Medical Centers & Physician Practice Plans under DPW
* Rounds to less than $0.1 Million
The budget maintains most of the Department of Health’s appropriations for health research, preventative health, and health treatment services at current year levels or provides a slight increase.
The FY2007-08 budget provided the largest increase in mass transit funding in the history of Pennsylvania resulting in over $156 million in new formula driven operating money for SEPTA. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) entered into a Public-Public Partnership with PennDOT which requires them to make quarterly lease payments over the next 50 years. In return, the TPC will be allowed to toll Interstate-80.
Under this legislation, the TPC transferred $300 million to PennDOT to be used for mass transit funding in FY2007-08. This amount will increase to $350 million in FY2009-2010. For the 2007-08 fiscal year $250 million of this money is for operating costs, of which SEPTA received approximately $156.4 million. The remaining $50 million of the money was distributed by PennDOT for capital projects. Septa received approximately$25 million of this total. Further, a new Dedicated Capital Funding stream was created which drove out over $75 million in FY2007-08 with SEPTA receiving nearly $58 million.
Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, the entire system for funding mass transit in the commonwealth has been overhauled. The former General Fund appropriations as well as the capped $75 million share of the sales tax have been swapped for a dedicated 4.4% of sales tax receipts. This ensures that SEPTA and all the other transit agencies will have a growing and dedicated source of funding. Act 44 will provide an additional $50 million in fiscal year 2008-09 for dedicated capital assistance.
Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP)
HEMAP offers loans to homeowners who have fallen behind in monthly payments due to unemployment or family medical emergencies. Since its inception in 1983, over $45 million in HEMAP assistance has been distributed to Philadelphia homeowners.
It is estimated that Philadelphians would receive approximately $2.2 million in FY 2008-09 through this proposed appropriation, although that will ultimately depend on the quantity and the magnitude of the applications that are filed for HEMAP assistance.
Housing and Redevelopment Assistance
In the budget for fiscal year 2008-09, DCED’s appropriation for Housing and Redevelopment Assistance was reduced slightly to $33.5 million. Philadelphia will continue to receive a fifth of this money and can anticipate receiving the same share of funding as in fiscal year 2007-08.
Probation and Parole Services
The FY2008-09 budget provides level funding in the state’s appropriation for the Improvement of Adult Probation Services.
Growing Greener II
* Competitive Grant program.
**Philadelphia will receive approximately $1.5 million dollars in funding between FY07-08 and FY 09-10. The disbursement of these funds will be dependant on timing of projects.
The Growing Greener II initiative was new in fiscal year 2005-06. The state will issue $625 Million in bonds - $100 million in each of the first five years and $125 million in the sixth year. From this $100 million, a county environmental program block grant of $18 million was budgeted and has already been collected by the City of Philadelphia, which the City has collected.
Additionally, the Growing Greener Bond Fund will remain at $10 million this year. The money is disbursed through a competitive grant program. The money available for Philadelphia will depend on the number and quality of applications from the city and the rest of the state.
The enacted FY 2008-09 budget provides $10.16 million for debt service and operating subsidies in Philadelphia.
PURTA Distribution to Local Governments
Each October, the Department of Revenue distributes checks to municipalities and school districts from PURTA tax revenue collected in the previous fiscal year. In 1999, the PURTA tax was “fixed” to provide a reliable tax collection stream.
Under present estimates the City of Philadelphia should receive roughly $3.5 million through this proposed appropriation in the upcoming year.
* Rounds to less than $0.1 Million
** Funds disbursed to the counties as needed
In general, Philadelphia’ s allocations for the judiciary are level-funded under the FY2008-09 enacted budget.
Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo