Here comes your 19th budget breakdown

Remember all that feel-good talk about how nice it was to have a bipartisan, on-time state budget?

Yeah, nix that.

Negotiations over the fiscal code have broken down. The main sticking point? Senate Republicans’ insistence on the creation of a legislative fiscal office, which would operate like Washington’s Congressional Budget Office. House Democrats say this was never part of budget negotiations, but Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson tells Capitolwire’s Laura Olson, ““We passed the bill in July of last year, and there were hearings this spring. We’re really unsure of how this came as a surprise to anyone.” According to her report, House Democrats say the Senate Rs are threatening to but the breaks on a natural gas tax, if the fiscal office isn’t addressed.

The AP’s Marc Scolforo has additional details on the breakdown. It’s important to remember lawmakers have a bit more than a week to work this out. Otherwise, Governor Rendell says he’d be legally bound to veto the budget bill that reached his desk Wednesday night. Rendell says he can’t sign a spending bill into law without an accompanying revenue package.

The House Appropriations Committee meets in about twenty minutes, so stay tuned for more on this continuing drama.

UPDATE: the meeting has been delayed until the call of the Chair.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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