Pa. budget battle taking shape

Posted: June 28, 2010

A budget will be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate by the June 30 deadline - it just may not be one the governor wants, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) said Monday.

Speaking at the monthly press club luncheon, Pileggi said the Senate is prepared to approve a $27.8 billion spending plan that will likely freeze funding for basic education at this year's levels – a concept that Gov. Rendell has said is unacceptable.

Whether that will lead to another messy impasse is still unclear. Pileggi said that whether Pennsylvania will have a budget on time -- and avoid the protracted battles of the last seven years of the Rendell administration – will depend on how reasonable Rendell is.

"Fewer than 60 hours remain for the Commonwealth to pass its first on-time budget for the past 8 years," Pileggi told the crowd at the luncheon. "Will it happen? Perhaps. . . . It will depend solely on the reasonableness of the governor."

On Saturday, the administration and legislative leaders appeared close to striking a compromise on how much to spend this year, but talks broke down the next day when they began to hash out details.

Pileggi said that the two sides had agreed to a budget of just over $28 billion, but then the governor produced a list of how he wanted to spend those dollars and "the discussion broke down."

He said the two sides still disagree over how much to increase funding for basic education over this year's spending, and on many details involving whether to tax natural gas extraction, and how to spend those funds.

Talks are ongoing.


Contact Inquirer staff writer Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934 or acouloumbis@phillynews.com.

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