Pa. budget to be whole after nine-month impasse

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 23, 2016 12:33 PM

FILE PHOTO: Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at a news conference in his Capitol offices on Monday, March 7, 2016, in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

(Harrisburg) -- Democratic Governor Tom Wolf says he won't block Republicans' $6.6 billion no-new-taxes spending package after nearly nine months of budget gridlock. 

His announcement this afternoon that he's backing off his veto threat leaves Illinois as the only state without a budget in place for the current fiscal year. 

Wolf said he'll let the measures become law and complete a $30 billion budget.

"I think it's the right thing to do to move on," he said

He had faced significant pressure from Democratic lawmakers worried about schools closing in the coming weeks. 

The budget delivers a $200 million boost to public school aid, half of what Wolf originally sought.

But he insists crucial state services face cutbacks next year without a tax increase to wipe out a long-term deficit. 

The governor says he spoke with legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle before making his announcement and the focus will now be on the 2016-17 budget.

"We all have understanding we will get to work on Monday," he said.

The sides now have to negotiate a new, election-year budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.  

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