FMAP $ “increasingly unlikely” to arrive

Governor Rendell will sit down with legislative leaders on Monday to begin figuring out how to trim 850 million dollars out of this year’s budget. “It appears increasingly unlikely that the federal government will take any action on legislation extending FMAP until after Labor Day,” he wrote to top lawmakers yesterday.

Rendell warns the lack of funds could lead to 20,000 layoffs, but the Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, is skeptical of the governor’s figure.

“If you track the governor’s prediction of layoffs starting in April, you’ll see a wide variation of numbers that are never supported by any sort of detailed analysis,” he said during an interview in his Capitol office today. Pileggi, who added he looks forward to going over the Administration’s analysis soon, says he wants to see Rendell eliminate the $250 million basic education increase, when money starts being trimmed from the budget.

Meantime, in Washington, Senator Bob Casey insists he and other Democrats are lobbying for a vote on FMAP. “We’re going to try – to push hard to try to get something done this period, meaning the next 7 to 9 days,” he said on the phone today. “And if not, to come back in September and try to get it done.”

I asked Casey how he can ramp up the pressure on Republicans and conservative Democrats, noting governors have been urging the Senate to pass the bill for months now. Casey said he hasn’t given up hope.


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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