The Pennsylvania House/Senate conference committee is expected to get back to work on the state budget this week. The panel met twice in late July without making any progress.
Governor Ed Rendell wants members to compare Democratic and Republican proposals line by line, but GOP officials say that would be redundant. Repeating an argument he’s been making for months, Rendell said Friday that public opposition to new taxes would fade when Pennsylvanians realize the impact of massive budget cuts.
"Let the public hear what’s going to be cut. Let the public hear that we’re taking a billion dollars out of education. Let the public hear that we’re eviscerating successful programs like Pre-K Counts and Keystone Stars. And you heard from those people in there, from every walk of life. Let the public hear that—that’s all I’m saying"
Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson counters the public has heard the argument against funding cuts, but doesn’t buy it.
"I don’t think that there is any mystery about what was in Senate Bill 850 at this point. We passed it more than three months ago. And every day since the Senate passed it, the governor and the House Democrats have attacked it. And yet we’re still in a situation where the House hasn’t passed any tax increases, and doesn’t seem like it’s going to consider any tax increases any time soon."
Rendell has begun another public tour aimed at drumming up support for his budget proposal.
He’s set to talk about state support for autism services at the Hershey Medical Center this afternoon.