Senate Approves “House Version” of State Budget
[UPDATE] In an 11th-hour move, the Pennsylvania Senate has passed a $30.3 billion dollar budget package with a 33-17 vote. The legislators had previously been in favor of a $30.8 billion package preferred by Governor Tom Wolf.
On his personal Facebook page, House Majority Leader Dave Reed said:
“The Senate just passed the House version of the budget with a bipartisan vote of 33-17. This budget spends over $3.5 billion less than the Governor originally wanted and $600 million less than what had been on the table. It will still increase funding for Pre-K thru 12 education by over $200 million, but will not require a sales tax or income tax increase. The bill will be signed in the House tomorrow and sent to the Governor’s desk. Hopefully he signs it and our schools and human service agencies will finally get their monies.”
In response to the news, Governor Wolf issued this statement through his spokesman:
“It was only one day ago that the House displayed a historic show of bipartisanship that bucked Speaker Turzai and the tea party. Yesterday, the House advanced a responsible budget with historic education funding and placed it on the verge of passage. It is deeply disappointing that today the Senate has caved to those same House leaders and extreme interests to continue the failed status quo and harm our schools and children by denying them these critical additional funds.
“A historic compromise budget that included the largest increase in education funding in history, reforms in public pensions, and a reduction in the deficit was within reach. It seems that the Republican legislature is intent on continuing the Harrisburg status quo and getting out of town to go on vacation instead of continuing the hard work to move Pennsylvania forward.
“Change is difficult, and clearly more so given this legislature, but we must continue our fight for historic education funding that will begin to restore the cuts from five years ago, and a budget that is balanced, paid for, and fixes our deficit.”
Observers have noted that the governor notably did not use the word veto. Once it hits his desk, Wolf will have 10 days to sign or veto it.
[ORIGINAL] We’ve said it before: Take all news about the Pennsylvania state budget standoff with a grain of salt. When last we checked in on the Harrisburg Budget Standoff, the House of Representatives appeared to have reversed course in the face of a threatened veto from Gov. Tom Wolf and was ready to vote on a full 12-month state budget.
Today, the House appears to have reversed course on that too.
The latest report is that Republican leadership in the House has pulled the budget off the floor because no means of paying for it had been attached. Pension reforms the leadership had insisted on were also left out of the bill.
CBS Philly reports that after Wolf threatened to veto the 11-month stopgap budget the House was ready to pass on Saturday in the wake of the failure of a pension-reform bill that even some pension-reform supporters didn’t like, the House leadership replaced that bill with the original 12-month budget proposal and readied it for a vote today. That vote was canceled when House members learned that neither the companion revenue bill nor the previously agreed-upon pension reform element was included with the budget bill.
House Majority Leader Dave Reed told PennLive: “We can take pensions off the table. We can take liquor off the table. I certainly think we should take an income tax and a sales tax increase of the table and pass a budget that’s realistic… and move on with our lives and get money to school districts and the human service agencies.”
PennLive reports that House leadership is sending lawmakers home for the Christmas break, and Reed posted the following to Facebook this afternoon:
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