Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is calling for a Marcellus Shale natural gas tax and minimum wage increase in his 2018-19 fiscal budget.

The spending plan calls for a spending increase of nearly $1 billion. The money will be used for public schools, skills training, pension obligations, prison costs and social services for children, the elderly and disabled.

It does not propose increases to the sale or income taxes. However, the budget includes about $250 million from a Marcellus Shale tax. This is the fourth time Gov. Wolf has tried to implement it.

The spending plan also relies on $100 million in savings on human services programs. The money would be saved by increasing the state's minimum wage, which is the same as the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, to $12, which would he believes would reduce the demand for those services.

The governor is also requesting a $25-per-person fee for municipalities that rely on State Police coverage to bring in $63 million per year.

The budget also accounts for the big expansion of lottery games, approved by lawmakers in October.

Education would also see funding increases, including another $100 million for public schools for operations and instruction. The budget proposal calls for:

  • $100 million increase in Basic Education;
  • $40 million increase in Pre-K Counts and Head Start;
  • $20 million increase for Special Education;
  • $15 million increase for the State System of Higher Education; and
  • $10 million for Career and Technical Education

The Republican-controlled legislature must pass the budget before July 1.

Gov. Wolf is seeking a second term in November's election.

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