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Pa. Senate ponders next move in budget impasse

Written by Mary Wilson | Jan 18, 2016 4:44 AM
Capitol_harrisburg.jpg

The Pennsylvania Capitol building is shown Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf's tax proposal is being debated in the state House of Representatives in the first-term Democrat's effort to break Pennsylvania's 3-month-old budget impasse. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) --   With the state's budget partially struck down by Governor Tom Wolf, state senators aren't sure they need to complete unfinished budget business.

Pennsylvania has half a state budget and a number of related pieces of legislation still up in the air.

One of those was passed by the House and sits before the Senate.

Critics say it's loaded with pet projects and controversial provisions that affect the distribution of schools money and attempt to halt changes to energy policy. 

Senate GOP aide Drew Crompton says the bill's fate is unclear.

"I think the intention is at least to present it to the caucus and then decide on whether the fiscal code is necessary in light of the action that Wolf took with the budget," he says.

Crompton notes  the measure may not be necessary since the state has only a partial spending plan in place.

"We recognize that the budget, although signed by Governor Wolf, the process is yet to be completed. Certainly state-relateds, fully funding MA and corrections, and even some other lines, have to be addressed as we move forward," he says. "So, we don't look at the process today and think that there's not any work to do going forward."

Budget negotiations are at a standstill.

The governor's office wants to revert to a tentative deal reached late last year, but Crompton says that outline may not be salvageable.

House Republicans don't appear to support it, and some say controversial votes will become all but impossible as incumbents prepare for the April primary election.  

           

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