Governor Ed Rendell says he’s willing to accept a 28.2 billion dollar state budget but warns any spending plan would be upended, if Congress doesn’t pass a medical spending bill. Emerging from a negotiating session with legislative leaders, Rendell said talks have made “tremendous progress,” and that he and House Democrats have come up with a 28.2 billion dollar proposal.
Rendell wants to keep 850 million dollars of extended federal medical funding in the spending plan, despite growing concern Congress won’t pass a measure authorizing the aid.
He says that would create “Armageddon” for Pennsylvania’s finances.
"Back to ground zero. I mean everything goes, including my education spend. Everything is subject to, just, disaster. And again, my guess is somewhere around 20-thousand layoffs are produced if FMAP goes."
That projected 20,000 jobs includes a ripple effect on school district and local municipal employment.
Republicans want to take the FMAP money out of the state’s budget, or set up a contingency plan where the 850 million dollars in possible cuts are clearly identified. House GOP Leader Sam Smith says Representative Sam Smith, says you can't count on that money....
"You know, when are you going to face the piper? If the FMAP money’s here this year and it’s not here next year, you know, next year you still have to face the same music. That’s been our concern for the last two years with all of this stimulus money."
Rendell says he’ll travel to Washington on Monday with a contingent of governors to lobby for the medical funding bill.
Smith says he could accept $28.2 billion spending number, but Senate Republicans insist it’s too high.