February 2018 — On February 6, 2018, Governor Wolf delivered the 2018 Budget Address for the state of Pennsylvania. As tribute to the Eagles for making history at the Super Bowl, he opened his speech with the famous chant, “Fly, eagles, fly,” congratulating the team on their victory. Wolf compared the pride that Eagles fans have for their team to the pride that Pennsylvanians have for their state.
The governor touched on the victories he has accomplished, especially in education, since he was elected in 2015. As the focus of his administration, Wolf reversed the billion-dollar cuts that were made in the education budget prior to his term. The number of kids attending pre-kindergarten courses has increased by half, high school graduation rates have exceeded 86 percent and STEM education has moved up the ranks to second in the nation. “Rebuilding our schools is the beginning of rebuilding our economy — but it’s just the beginning,” he said.
Another focus of his administration: job creation. Since Governor Wolf took office, Pennsylvania has gained approximately 180,000 jobs.
With Pennsylvania’s economy continuously growing, Wolf laid out a comprehensive budget plan to ensure that the commonwealth prospers. This plan includes a $2 billion proposal for infrastructure investment over the next decade, which will go towards rebuilding bridges, roads and highways.
Wolf outlined a $225 million budget to improve education, as well. This includes $100 million for basic education funding, $20 million for special education, $30 million for Pre-K Counts, $10 million for Head Start and $15 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Another $50 million will go towards technical education.
Additionally, the proposal includes the establishment of a state severance tax. Wolf points out that Pennsylvania is one of the only states with an abundance of natural gas resources but no state severance tax. He explains, “And let’s understand exactly what a severance tax is. It’s a tax paid by people mostly outside of Pennsylvania to use our natural resources.”
Governor Wolf’s commitment to jobs that pay, schools that teach and government that works is clearly addressed in his 2018 Budget Address. Invest: Philadelphia is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the Keystone State.
To read the full transcript of Governor Wolf’s speech, click here.