State budget deadline looms; 24 days and counting

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Harrisburg –

Twenty-four days and counting until the state budget is due and negotiations are starting to heat up at the Capitol.  House Republicans and Senate Democrats have authored plans to rival Governor Tom Corbett’s $28.4 billion spending proposal.

If nothing else, the press is on to make sure a spending plan gets passed on time.  Governor Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled General Assembly want to make an on-time budget a priority.  However, each of the sides is taking sides with the knowledge that much work must be done to get a plan in place before July 1.

capitolThe clock is ticking on the state budget deadline.  Twenty-four days and counting and still no deal.

“It’s a very responsible budget, it’s a fair budget,” said Bill Adolph, (R) Delaware County on May 29 after the House Republicans released their budget plan.

House Republicans released their budget plan last week, tweaking Governor Tom Corbett’s $28.4 billion spending proposal.  The House Republicans are looking to add 300 new state troopers, while spending about a $100 million more on education than the Governor.

“It does well in terms of public education.  It increases spending by about 2.1 percent and we’re proud of the product that we’re going to be putting out,” Adolph said.

“The Senate Democratic plan is fully paid for and its balanced,” said Senator Jay Costa, (D) Allegheny County.

The Senate Democrats jumped into the budget fracas Monday, releasing a $28.5 billion spending plan that focuses on spending over $200 million dollars more on education than the Governor, while cutting a broad-based business tax that the Republicans favor.

“This budget that we are offering up today is an issue of prioritizing, prioritizing job creation and prioritizing education as the two main pillars,” said Senator Vincent Hughes, (D) Montgomery County.

Both of these plans are similar to Governor Tom Corbett’s proposal which was released in February.  The Governor is offering a no-tax increase budget.  However, neither House Republicans nor Senate Democrats are looking to tackle the big three at this point, pension reform, liquor privatization and transportation funding.

The House Appropriations Committee passed the House Republican’s plan on Monday, sending it to the full House for a vote.  That vote is expected as early as Monday.  With a Republican controlled House, it’s expected to pass. 

The Revenue Secretary is speaking about the Governor’s proposal in Lancaster County today, trying to drum up support for the plan in time to get the bill passed by June 30.