HARRISBURG – Today the House Appropriations Committee heard from the Department of Human Services (DHS). Here are the key takeaways from the day:
DHS’s strategy to continuous cost overruns is to throw hands in the air:
Once again, the DHS budget includes a $941 million supplemental appropriation request for the current fiscal year due to cost overruns and a lack of management at the department. In response to questions regarding what cost containment the department could deploy, DHS Secretary Theresa Miller essentially said there was nothing she could do.
DHS’s budget proposal increases spending by over 9% for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
After Miller pointed out that our senior population is growing while our working population is in decline, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga) reminded Miller that the governor’s proposal to increase the personal income tax rates by nearly 50% would drive even more taxpayers out of Pennsylvania.
DHS never bothered to research the impact a $15 minimum wage would have on childcare costs:
While national studies have found that a $15 minimum wage would increase the cost of childcare by 21%, Miller was unable to answer what the impact of a $15 minimum wage would be on the cost of childcare. The reason soon became clear…
Staff for DHS chose to not look at the effects a minimum wage increase would have on childcare, but also testified that they have not analyzed the costs to their budget related to increasing the minimum wage and that they have not included any rate increases to account for the increase. Last year DHS estimated cost to Child Care Assistance to be $30 million.
Chairman Saylor’s concluding remarks:
In his concluding remarks, Chairman Saylor noted that DHS’s budget has grown by over $4.4 billion, a 40% increase under Gov. Tom Wolf. With another proposed 9% increase, the chairman noted that the governor and the Democrats will need to continue to increase taxes to keep up their continued unregulated spending.
House Republican Caucus
Pennsylvania House of Representatives