Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Legislative Leaders Still Hoping For On-Time Budget

Legislative leaders will sit down with Governor Ed Rendell again this afternoon, as they continue to negotiate the details of next year’s budget for Pennsylvania.
The June 30th budget deadline is a bit more than a week away, and leaders from both parties insist that unlike last year, they’re doing everything they can to pass a spending plan beforehand.
Senate and House leaders met twice yesterday.
House Speaker Keith McCall says leaders haven’t agreed on a spending number yet.

"We really haven’t worked all those numbers out at this point. That’s still a matter of what we’re trying to reconcile right now."

Joe Scarnati, the top Republican in the Senate, says talks have been productive.

"We don’t have anybody drawing lines in the sand, arbitrary statements that it has to be this way or it’s not going to happen. And I think that’s very encouraging."

Scarnati says Republicans are opposing any tax hike, and says he’s “encouraged” the House has not been able to pass a revenue plan featuring increased tobacco taxes and a natural gas levy.
He warns Senate Republicans will oppose a spending plan that includes 850 million dollars in increased federal medical assistance, if Congress still hasn’t passed the FMAP extension by the time the budget is voted on.

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