State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Wolf would let unsigned, unbalanced budget become law

Written by Katie Meyer | Jul 10, 2016 11:45 PM

Governor Tom Wolf announced at a press conference that he is prepared to allow the state budget to phase into law automatically. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

(Harrisburg)-- Ten days after the state budget's deadline, Governor Tom Wolf plans to allow it to become law at midnight on Monday, with or without an agreement on how to fund it.

The budget currently sitting on Wolf's desk is $1.3 billion dollars short of balanced.

At a press conference Sunday night, the governor said it is now up to the legislature to find a solution.

He added that, "if the general assembly fails to pass a responsible revenue package...this bill will become law without my signature."

Wolf did express confidence that the assembly will be able to put together a package by midnight Monday, and he pledged to sign any revenue bill that is balanced and sustainable.

"I sense a different spirit," he said. "I think last year we didn't have cooperative work on things that mattered...we didn't have that last year, we do this year."

Wolf's decision not to veto or change the bill takes some of the pressure of a deadline off the legislature.

Representative Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery) said he isn't sure if the governor's confidence in the general assembly is misplaced.

Vereb called the pledge to let the budget become law on Monday a "leap of faith."

He said as far as he remembers, an unbalanced budget has never before been in danger of becoming law.

"Nothing's normal up here," Vereb added. "So this is the new normal."

House GOP spokesman Steven Miskin said he doesn't know the governor's justification for his current plan.

The governor's spokesman says that according to the state constitution, it is legal for Wolf to allow the unbalanced budget to pass into law unsigned.

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