Governor's budget pushes for aid for schools, college debt

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Governor Tom Wolf

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf wants to create a major new program for college scholarships, require public schools to provide full-day kindergarten, and pump $1 billion into cleaning up lead and asbestos in aging school buildings.

However, the Democrat's budget proposal rolled out Tuesday is likely to face a skeptical Republican-controlled Legislature.

The budget would increase spending through the state's main bank account to $36 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year starting July 1.

Including nearly $600 million for the current fiscal year, Wolf is seeking authorization for another $2.6 billion in new spending. That's 7.6% more. The plan would hold the line on sales and income taxes.

Wolf is using a portion of his annual budget address to push lawmakers to take action to address gun violence. He reiterated his support for universal background checks for sales, mandatory reporting for lost or stolen guns, and other measures.

The political divisions and strong feelings that characterize the gun issue across the country are mirrored at the state Capitol.

Gun safety and regulation proponents hold regular rallies and the yearly “Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally” always draws attendees by the busload.

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