We've got a budget framework
Exactly a week before the June 30th deadline for next year’s state spending plan, “the framework for a budget agreement is in place.” That announcement came from Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati’s Twitter account this afternoon. Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson backed the statement up, telling the Post-Gazette, “there’s an agreement in principle” for a $27.15 billion spending plan, “with lots of details still being worked out.”
According to the AP, “Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman described a $27.15 billion budget framework that included small changes to the spending cuts to education aid and Department of Public Welfare funding that were included in a budget bill that passed the House last month.”
A source who’s looped in on negotiations says an impact fee is not part of the agreement – but that doesn’t mean lawmakers can’t try to advance a measure placing a levy on natural gas drilling within the next few days.
The final budget will be a victory for Governor Corbett and legislative Republican leaders who came to power vowing to cut state spending. They’ll succeed – to the tune of about $1 billion, compared to this year’s budget. The plan will slash state support for basic and higher education, though nowhere near the drastic levels Corbett initially proposed in March.
There’s a lot more work to do. Corbett and GOP leaders will meet for another session Sunday afternoon, and then the budget bills will begin moving their way through the House and Senate, where Democrats will be sure to raise a stink over the fact more than $500 million will be banked in a rainy day fund, instead of going toward education spending and other line items.