HARRISBURG, Pa. -- State House members followed their Senate counterparts Thursday in passing a temporary state budget in order to get financial aid to school districts and human service agencies. It's facing one major problem, however: Governor Tom Wolf has promised to veto the bill.
The GOP-proposed stop-gap, or "emergency funding" bill as House Republicans referred to it Thursday, costs $11 billion and would retroactively fund public services over a four month period, from the start of July 1 through October 31. The stop-gap budget passed on a straight party line vote of 117-83. Pennsylvania has been without a state budget since Governor Wolf vetoed a GOP-passed bill on June 30.
On Thursday, House Republicans continued to plead with Wolf to sign the temporary budget proposal. However, according to Wolf spokesperson Jeff Sheridan, that will not happen.
"He will veto the stop-gap budget," Sheridan said, not indicating when specifically the governor would use his veto power. Wolf heads to Philadelphia on Thursday night for the Pope's visit over the weekend before returning home early next week to resume budget talks.
Wolf's team is calling the GOP-passed budget "fiscally irresponsible" and "the latest in a long line of gimmicks" that Republicans have offered.
"At every turn, he's being meet with nothing in return from Republicans," Sheridan said. "The two sides have many differences to narrow."
Sheridan added while the GOP has offered no concessions, Wolf offered a 401k-based pension system and a moderated liquor laws working towards privatization. Republicans, in turn, are calling the governor's decision to not sign a temporary budget to fund schools and social services "absurd."
"The days of manufactured chaos and crisis are over and the people and legislature will no longer tolerate such an unprofessional, irresponsible, and uncaring approach to governance," House Speaker Mike Turzai wrote in a statement. "That children sit in Pennsylvania schools today without new textbooks and victims of violence may not be able to get necessary support is unacceptable."