This could be a year Pennsylvania passes a budget that's not only on time, but even early.  Governor Wolf presented his budget proposal today that calls for no tax increase on individuals or families.  The address is already getting good reviews from members of both political parties. This is an election year, and the governor, and members of the legislature are not expected to do anything to upset voters.

The 2018-19 General Fund Budget that Wolf is proposing totals $32.9 billion. That's an increase of $989 million, or 3%, over this year's spending plan. Most of the  increase in spending would  be covered by a natural growth in tax revenues, not a tax hike. Wolf's budget calls for an increase of $341 million for Pre-K to Grade 12 education.  It also includes a $15 million increase to the State System of Higher Education.  $10 million would go to workforce and training initiatives.

"Developing a workforce that can compete, and win, in the 21st Century economy is the single best way to help Pennsylvania businesses grow and attract new businesses to our Commonwealth. It's also the single best thing we can do to help more of our people find better jobs, not just tomorrow, but today," Wolf said.

Erie News Now asked two Erie County lawmakers, one Democrat , and one Republican, about Wolf's proposal.  Rep, Ryan Bizzarro (D) likes how the additional monies would be  spent.

"I was pretty impressed by today's budget address.  I think it hit home in a lot of areas that many of us in Pennsylvania are looking to see improvements in terms of investing more money in education, and in terms of workforce development programs," he said.

Rep. Curt Sonney (R) said he believes the budget could be passed early this year.

"I'm encouraged by this particular budget address mainly because of no broad-based tax increases.  The governor has presented a picture to Pennsylvania that, budgetarily, we're in much better shape than we were in year's past, and that's absolutely true," he said.

Wolf is, once again, challenging the legislature to adopt a severance tax on natural gas drillers to raise billions for Pennsylvania's  future.  He hopes the state can even re-establish its Rainy Day Fund, which now totals zero.