Governor Rendell will sit down with legislative leaders soon to begin figuring out how to trim 850 million dollars out of this year’s budget. Rendell warns of 20-thousand layoffs, but the State Senate’s top Republican is skeptical of the governor’s figure.
Nearly a month after Pennsylvania passed its budget, the U.S. Senate still hasn’t approved extended medical assistance for the states. Pennsylvania’s spending plan banks on 850 million dollars from the FMAP measure.
Rendell is growing increasingly pessimistic FMAP will ever be signed into law, and he’s invited legislative leaders to a budget meeting next week.
State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi doubts the reductions will lead to the 20-thousand layoffs Rendell is promising.
The Republican argues the governor’s figures have changed several times, over the past few months.
"I think what the governor has been trying to do is to say reduced spending will cause some layoffs in state employee ranks, and trying to make that point more dramatic in using large numbers."
Pileggi says he wants Rendell to eliminate the budget’s 250 million dollar increase in basic education spending, if the FMAP money is taken out of the spending plan.
Democratic Senator Bob Casey is still holding out hope for FMAP approval....
"Look, we hit a wall on unemployment insurance, and we finally broke through that and were able to pass it. So I think that’s a pretty good model for how to proceed. To keep pushing, and keep explaining to people what the stakes are."
Casey says he’s hoping for a vote within the next two weeks. He says if FMAP doesn’t pass then, Democrats will push the issue yet again in September.