Governor Ed Rendell says he can’t sign the state budget until an accompanying bill setting revenue levels has passed, as well.
House and Senate leaders are still negotiating the specifics of the fiscal code bill.
Top Republicans and Democrats are working out the details of Pennsylvania’s fiscal code behind closed doors.
One of the issues on the table is whether or not to create a Legislative Fiscal Office, which would function like the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, and counter-balance the administration’s financial analysis.
Rendell says he can’t sign the appropriations bill, which sets the state’s spending, until the General Assembly passes the fiscal code.
"I have a responsibility – a constitutional responsibility – to make sure that it’s a budget that is balanced and paid for. Until the fiscal code comes in, until I have an opportunity to sign the fiscal code – I won’t be assured of that."
Rendell has ten days to sign the appropriations bill, and warns he’d be forced to veto the budget if the fiscal code isn’t on his desk at the end of the window.
Top lawmakers are pushing for House and Senate votes on the measure before the Fourth of July.
Meantime, the governor is defending the decision to keep 850 million dollars of tentative federal aid in this year’s state spending plan.
Rendell says he and legislative leaders have developed a contingency plan, in case Congress doesn’t pass a bill authorizing the payment by months’ end.
"We’re going to monitor what goes on in Washington. If there’s no action on FMAP, or no concrete guidance that they can give us by the end of this month, I will meet with legislative leaders and begin going over the process of putting things in legislative reserve."
Rendell has warned thousands of state workers will lose their jobs if the federal bill isn’t passed.