Top Republicans and Democrats in the legislature have reached a compromise on the state’s fiscal code, paving the way for final budget votes possibly today. The House and Senate approved a $28.05 billion appropriations measure Wednesday but Governor Ed Rendell said he couldn't sign it until companion bills were also approved including the fiscal code.
Negotiations over the bill setting Pennsylvania’s revenues broke down Thursday night, when Senate Republicans accused House Democrats of going back on a deal to create a Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO), which would act as a counter-balance to the governor’s budget team. It would be a state version of the Congressional Budget Office.
Democrats, including Governor Rendell, say GOP leaders never brought up the LFO during budget talks, and say they were caught off guard by the demand.
A compromise has been reached.
The fiscal code will include a promise to vote on the budget office by October 1st – the same deadline that’s been set for a final vote on a natural gas severance tax.
If the measure passes, Governor Rendell says he’ll sign the budget bills into law on Tuesday.