Budget deal in place*
June 29, 2010 1 Comment
After negotiating until nearly three in the morning, legislative leaders have agreed to the framework for a state budget.
The deal calls for a bit more than $28 billion in spending, and includes the boost in basic education funding Governor Rendell had pushed for.
Leaders have also agreed to tax natural gas drilling – though the severance tax would be passed later this year, in a separate bill. House Speaker Keith McCall says the budget includes 850 million dollars in federal medical assistance that still hasn’t cleared Congress.
McCall also warns of across-the-board cuts to line items and programs, noting House Democrats didn’t want to vote for revenue increases this year. “The alternative to no revenues is a budget that cuts programs,” he said. “And they’re not going to be pleasant, but they’re the reality of where we’re at.”
There’s still more work to be done. Lawmakers will resume talks around nine in the morning. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says the details need to be hammered out by mid-day, if there’s any hope of passing the budget by the June 30th deadline. “The major outline of this agreement is in place, but the details are important,” he told reporters around 2 AM. “Because as we said from the beginning, unless all of the components of the outline are agreed to, then none of the components are agreed to.”