Friday, June 4, 2010

Education $ Could Be Budget Sticking Point

Lawmakers have 27 days to go before this year’s state spending plan is due.
Following budget negotiations at Governor Rendell’s official residence, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said he sensed a “willingness” on Rendell’s part to get the budget passed by the June 30th deadline.

"It would require a degree of compromise by him and the administration towards the position of the General Assembly. We didn’t see that flexibility in June or July, or even August last year. That started to come in October."

But a few hours later, Rendell told reporters he wants to see another increase in basic education spending, and he’s happy to drag negotiations into mid-summer to make sure that happens.

"There’s room for compromise, but let me say, there’s nothing more important to the commonwealth’s future. Nothing. And you know how much I’ve devoted myself to education, and seeing that our schools have the resources that our kids can have the full potential. And guys, I’m ready. I’m ready for 101 days, if necessary."

Rendell is asking for a 354 million dollar basic education increase this year, but hinted he’s willing to settle for less. Pileggi and other Republican leaders say this year’s 1.2 billion dollar budget shortfall means Rendell’s education request is unrealistic.
Rendell acknowledged the final budget will likely be lower than the 29 billion dollar spending plan he submitted in February.

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