Pennsylvania House Republicans says the Rendell Administration is engaging in reckless budgeting by relying on $854 million in federal finds that have yet to be approved by Congress. The U.S. Senate was set to approve increased medical funding for states earlier this week, but the provision was removed from its jobs bill before the vote took place. Governor Rendell’s budget assumes the measure will be passed before July 1. State Representative Doug Reichley of Berks County Republican, says assuming Congress will approve the spending is a reckless approach to budgeting, “You need to engage in a budgeting process that looks at the revenue that you’re getting honestly from your state resources. And stop trying to project forward what you might get out of Washington and what you might get out of more stimulus funds. And deal with the budget we have based upon what the resources are here in Pennsylvania.”
Reichley wants to cut $854 million from the budge until the federal bill is passed. Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma says that would be a bad idea. “You would have services to the public cease. You would have workers laid off. And we’re not just talking state workers. It could be a lot of other entities around the state – library workers, childcare workers, healthcare providers – who would be laid off, who would lose their jobs. The public would lose those services provided, only to find out in the long run that we’re getting that money anyway,” says Tuma. He says he’s confident the increased federal funding will pass soon. Tuma notes that more than 40 governors recently sent a letter to President Obama explaining how they are banking on the extra financial support.