What this means for an on-time budget, a Corbett administration priority, remains a question mark. There is still time for the legislature to approve a general appropriations measure, the main budget bill that authorizes the state to spend money. But related bills, including one making changes to the state's fiscal code, would also need to be completed by day's end Saturday to claim an on-time budget.
Legislative leaders throughout the day Wednesday said it could and would be done. The House is scheduled to reconvene Thursday morning, with the expectation that it will vote on the budget and send it to the Senate for immediate consideration.
The negotiated budget agreement contains no new taxes - in keeping with Gov. Corbett's campaign pledge - and increases spending about 1.5 percent over this year's plan.
But it contains steep cuts for a list of human services programs, and would eliminate a cash assistance program that helps nearly 70,000 people, including the temporarily disabled, victims of domestic abuse, and recovering addicts. It also would continue to provide nearly $300 million in tax cuts for businesses.
Democrats have called the agreement - a product of negotiations by a Republican governor and the Republican-controlled legislature - a heartless demonstration of GOP priorities that place business interests ahead of those of the needy. Republicans have defended it as a sound fiscal plan in difficult economic times.
"I don't agree with every line, every dime, every dollar that's being spent," said Rep. Bill Adolph (R., Delaware), who chairs the Appropriations Committee. "But we compromised, the governor compromised," Adolph added at Wednesday morning's appropriations hearing. "And we got a responsible budget that spends no more than we have to take in."
The budget deal would reverse all of the cuts that Corbett proposed making to state-related universities, including Temple and Pennsylvania State, as well as to the 14 schools in the State System of Higher Education. It also would put back all of the $100 million that Corbett sought to cut in grants that school districts use to finance kindergarten and other early-childhood-education programs.
But there are outstanding issues.
Topping that list is Corbett's push to get the legislature to sign off on a tax credit to lure Shell to build a huge petrochemical plant in Western Pennsylvania. Work on that matter continued into the early evening Wednesday, and it was not clear whether an agreement had been reached.
Also up in the air is Corbett's proposal for so-called block grants to counties. The governor wanted to combine funding for several human services programs into one lump-sum payment to counties. But some Republicans balked, and the sides are now negotiating a pilot program that would allow counties to opt in for block-grant payments.
What remains certain is that those human services programs, under the budget deal, would take a 10 percent funding hit.
Contact Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @AngelasInk.