Thursday, June 3, 2010

GOP Senate Budget Leader Still Hopeful of On Time Spending Plan

Governor Ed Rendell will sit down with legislative leaders this morning to discuss Pennsylvania's budget.
Republican leaders are taking issue with Rendell's assumption Congress will approve increased funding for Pennsylvania and other states.
Rendell’s budget counts on 850 million dollars in increased federal aid.
The only problem is, Congress has yet to pass a bill authorizing the medical assistance payment(FMAP).
House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin says the assumption is indicative of the administration’s approach to finances.

"You should not budget based on hope, and that’s what this budget seems to be based on. Hope that the Feds come through. Hope that tax revenues come through this year. Hope that everything falls into the right place. And it’s just not realistic."

Rendell’s spokesman Gary Tuma defends the decision to keep the FMAP money in the budget.

"If it does not come through and if we do not get the money on time, or do not get the money at all, then, as the governor has said, we will deal with the problem. You have to be flexible. You have to deal with situations as they arise. We still have a month to go to deal with our budget."

Tuma says both the House and Senate have approved the FMAP money in different bills, so he argues it’s only a matter of time before Congress sends the funding increase to the president’s desk.
Rendell submitted a 29 billion dollar spending plan in February, but the state faces a 1.2 billion dollar revenue shortfall, so GOP leaders say the state can only afford a 27.5 billion dollar budget.
Still, Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman says he’s hopeful negotiations can wrap up before the June 30th deadline.

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