Budget plan advances with extra cash for schools, reserves

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives is beginning debate on a $34 billion compromise budget plan that uses strong tax collections to boost aid to public schools and universities, hold the line on taxes and stuff cash into reserve.

Tuesday’s scheduled vote is on a just-unveiled spending plan agreed to by leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Senate approval is also required.

The plan for the 2019-20 fiscal year starting Monday is similar to the $34.1 billion plan Wolf floated in February. It authorizes almost $2 billion more in spending through the state’s main operating account, or 6% more, counting cost overruns in the current fiscal year.

Much of it covers new discretionary aid for public schools, plus rising costs for prisons, debt, pension obligations and health care.

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