Friday, September 18, 2009

Few Details, but Governor Rendell is on Board with a Budget

We don't have many details (the Governor said he wants senators and representatives to hear it first) but in an 8 PM press conference, the Governor has said he is on board with a budget with a spend number "close to" the original three-caucus budget (around $27.9 billion). Some highlights:

  • According to Governor Rendell, the budget meets his commitment to education.
  • The budget will spend $400 million less than last year's budget. Without federal stimulus dollars, it spends $2 billion less.
  • Governor Rendell apologized for the "angst and concern" Pennsylvanians have been subjected to and for the 79-day delay.
  • Senator Pileggi said the budget was a "remarkable feat" in this recession.
  • Speaker McCall said that this was a budget deal involving "winners and survivors."
  • "Now that the agreement is reached in principle, there is a fair amount of nuts and bolts that need to go on... it is our hope that we will be working through the weekend... next week is a possibility" but it is more likely the budget will be passed the following week.
  • According to Governor Rendell, this budget preserves education and economic development, creates revenues, and constrains spending. He believes it could have been done in a shorter period of time, but thinks the end result is good for Pennsylvania.
  • Table games are part of the revenue package, but overall revenue package not being released yet (expected that cigarillos will be taxed, but not chewing tobacco and cigars)
  • Treasurer McCord is planning on a "strike force" effort similar to getting state workers paid quickly in order to make sure social service organizations are paid as quickly as possible.
More details as they come. In the meantime, thanks to all of the people on Twitter who have gotten the information on the budget out so quickly, including @PgPoliTweets @Capitol_Ideas @timestribune and so many more.

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