Friday, September 11, 2009

PA: Budget Proposal bipartisan

reports not yet confirmed but it looks like something's happening


PA Senate GOP Caving on Tax Hikes?

September 10, 2009
Marsico Supports Establishing a Committee of the Whole to Break Budget Impasse, Issues Statement

HARRISBURG – Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Lower Paxton) issued the following statement in response to Rep. Craig Dally’s (R-Northampton) proposal to adopt a temporary rule to resolve the House into a Committee of the Whole to prepare the 2009-10 state budget:

“I support my colleague’s quest to introduce a House resolution that, if adopted by the chamber, would resolve the House into a Committee of the Whole. At this point, it seems to be one of the only alternatives left to being able to work on and prepare a budget.

“If this resolution passes, the committee will be allowed to have more open and informal discussions about the budget than if we were in regular session. This type of frank debate among all members of the House is what the Republican Caucus has been asking for since May. We have asked nicely and that doesn’t seem to be working. It’s time to take legislative action to move this budget forward.

“The entire House would finally be able to debate proposals offered by members. There are so many good ideas being offered by various members about how to solve this budget crisis but they have been continuously ignored. We are all here to do a job, not just a handful of us. Why not let us all participate in getting this budget passed?

“This procedure has only been used twice in the last 72 years. It is not something that is done on a regular basis because we are typically able to work out our differences without it coming to this. However, this situation is completely out of control and we need to implement this procedure immediately. I hope that both sides of the aisle will support this resolution

Rendell says he will veto bipartisan state budget proposal
Gov. Ed Rendell said today he would veto a $27.9 billion bipartisan state budget proposal that avoids a major tax increase.

"This budget is not balanced for this year, and it's a billion dollars short for next year," Rendell said in Pittsburgh. He said he plans to tell the legislative leaders who announced the agreement that he would "absolutely" veto the measure.

"If they override it, they override it," Rendell said. "They pay the price next year when there's a billion (dollar) deficit."

The proposed budget avoids a sales tax and income tax increase, but hits smokers and some businesses.

Legislative leaders made it clear they are moving ahead.

"Given the state of the economy, a lot of difficult choices had to be made in this budget," said Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnati, a Jefferson County Republican who also is Senate president pro tempore. "However, we were able to come to an agreement that meets our core principles of no broad-based tax increases, a budget that spends less than last year, and one that is sustainable."

Scarnati said legislative leaders are scheduling a conference committee to move the bill.

"This budget is far from perfect but Democrats and Republicans alike are coming together in order to end the pain that hundreds of thousands of people are feeling," said House Speaker Keith McCall, D-Carbon County.

Pennsylvania is the only state without an approved budget. Today is the 73rd day of the impasse.

Lawmakers and legislative staffers say the deal includes:

• Legalizing table games at casinos.

• A 25-cent per pack hike on cigarettes.

• Leasing drilling rights on the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve.

• A one-year state tax forgiveness program expected to generate $100 million.

• Halting the scheduled phase out of the capital stock and franchise tax, a levy on a businesses' assets.

Rendell has repeatedly stressed that to meet his approval a budget must have "recurring revenue" to balance this year's and next year's budget and provide $300 million in additional spending for education.

The legislative deal provides $300 million more for k-12 education spending.

The overall plan is about $1 billion less than Rendell proposed in February. It is about $268 million less than last year's budget.


Issue date: 9/10/09 Section: News
Pennsylvania budget stuck in deadlock
Prameet Kumar

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