PA Budget Facts

Member Group : Commonwealth Foundation

The Commonwealth Foundation has two new fact sheets on the Pennsylvania State Budget.

Pennsylvania Educational Spending

• K-12 public education spending has dramatically increased in Pennsylvania

o Pennsylvania’s education spending increased from $4 billion in 1980 to more than $25 billion in 2009—a 133% increase in per-student spending, after adjusting for inflation.

o Pennsylvania school districts spent more than $13,000 per student in 2008-09.

• Since 2000, enrollment has decreased by 26,960 while schools have hired 32,937 more staff members

o Despite these spending and staff increases, performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the national exam used to compare state performance, has changed little.

• At the end of the 2008-09 school year, public schools had $2.68 billion in General Fund reserves.

Get more facts on Education Spending

School Taxpayer Referendum & Property Tax Relief

• With little accountability to voters, property taxes have continued to skyrocket, increasing by $2.1 billion, or 26%, from 2004 to 2008—exceeding both inflation and student enrollment growth.

o This growth in property taxes occurred despite a 30% increase in state aid to school districts from 2005 to 2009.

o Property tax relief from slot machine gambling had also generated additional funding for districts of more than $700 million per year to offset property taxes.

• In his budget address, Gov. Corbett proposed subjecting all property tax hikes above the rate of inflation to a voter referendum—essentially eliminating the Act 1 waivers that circumvent taxpayer control.

Get the facts on School Taxpayer Referendum & Property Tax Relief

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For more on the Pennsylvania State Budget and all six PA Budget Facts 2011, visit