(2010) Latest News and Updates on the PA Budget

(6/18/10) Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell asks legislators to prepare to stay until a 2010-11 budget gets done, by Jan Murphy, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA. This week, Governor Rendell sent a letter to State House and Senate leaders asking them to keep all the representatives and senators in Harrisburg, starting on Monday 6/21/10, and remain in Harrisburg until a budget is done. According to Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, (R-Delaware) , “Our collective staffs of all four caucuses were given the direction to work together between now and early next week to develop a spending plan that is in the ballpark of what a final agreement might look like.” It is becoming increasingly unlikely that Lawmakers will make the State’s June 30 Constitutional deadline.

(6/17/10) Time for compromise: state budget should be $28 bn next year, by The Patriot-News Editorial Board, Harrisburg, PA. “The easy revenue sources have been used up. With the Rainy Day Fund depleted and no appetite in the Legislature for broad-based tax increases on individuals or corporations, the government has to live within its means. That means $28 billion is about as high as we can feasibly go — even that will be a stretch. To further chop programs — especially in social services and environmental monitoring — at a time when so many in the state are struggling and our gas drilling industry is expanding at a breakneck pace would be unwise. Make no mistake, there still will have to be painful cuts to balance even a $28 billion budget, but to go much lower than that would be to start balancing our state’s budget in detrimental ways to our citizens.”   

(6/16/10) Commentary: State budget battle lacks usual clamor, by Laura Vecsey, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA “The only hint of last year’s name calling and saber rattling was Rendell’s suggestion that he didn’t expect Senate Republicans to bring forth a ‘Son of 850’ (reference to Senate Republican‘s Austere budget bill from 2009).  ‘I think the rhetoric is so much less this year,’ said Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominick Pileggi. ‘Folks are realizing that didn’t work.’”

(6/16/10) State lawmakers launch website to gather ideas on balancing Pennsylvania’s budget, by Kari Andren, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA. “State lawmakers, including , Rep. Eugene DePasquale, (D-York) launched a website this week, www.YourPAbudget.com, to collect ideas from residents on how to raise money, where to cut spending and other ways to balance the state’s budget.”

(6/16/10) Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders charge staff with developing a draft budget by next week, by Kari Andren, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA. “Governor Ed Rendell warned that government employee layoffs, including teachers, could come as early as July if an additional $850 million in Medicaid assistance money from the federal government is not approved. The governor is counting on that money to limit the state’s FY2010-11 budget deficit to $1.2 billion. In the meantime, Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, (R-Delaware) expects that the legislature will approve something more like a $27.5 billion spending package (with no additional revenue enhancements — pronounced tax increases) rather than the Governor’s $29 billion budget proposal.”

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