Monday, March 16, 2009

Governor and Republicans Start Sparring Over Budget

With more than three months to go before Pennsylvania's budget deadline, Governor Rendell is urging lawmakers to do everything they can to pass the spending plan early. However, a top Republican is voicing skepticism over Rendell's plea. Rendell says stalling won't make the General Assembly's tough budget decisions any easier and he hopes lawmakers will start working on this year's plan as soon as possible. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says that sounds good to him, but argues it's the governor, not the legislature, that typically causes delays. He says, “The governor over past years has very clearly stated publicly that he'd rather have a budget done later than June 30th and have it contain things that he believed were important to him, than have it done on or before June 30th without containing those items that he thought were important.” Rendell says he hopes lawmakers will not use the budget as a political toll. He says Pennsylvanians are looking to the state to take leadership in these tough economic times. Pileggi says any new tax proposals fro the governor’s office may prove to be a major sticking point between the GOP-controlled Senate and the Democratic House. Rendell says he's setting aside time every two weeks to discuss budget matters with members of the two chambers. He says as the deadline approaches, he'll hold those sessions more and more frequently.

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