Monday, August 31, 2015

State budget mess draws national eye

The Washington Post jumps in on PA's done-but-not-done budget.

State budget mess draws national eye


Not that Gov. Corbett needs more attention over things that he doesn't get done, but The Washington Post on Tuesday took a look at his state's budget mess.

It notes Pennsylvania is just one of 11 states with lower revenue than projected and could face a downgrading of its bond rating.

For as of Tuesday morning, the done-but-not-done annual budget remained uncertain on two levels.

First, the Senate, back from a long holiday weekend after the fiscal-year July 1 deadline passed, was set to take up critical parts of the budget package that directs where the money goes. And the problem is that the House-passed version doesn't match what Senate already approved.

So the enabling bill is back in the upper chamber with questions over a $40 million bank tax that appears to be missing and over some local redevelopment funds stripped out that could total $80 million. House GOP leaders say the state can't afford them.

Philly's $2 per pack cigarette tax hike also is caught up in the tangle. I'd remind you, all this is the work of a governor's office, House and Senate all of the same party.

The second uncertainty hovers around Corbett's intentions. He declined to sign the overall budget bill that passed both chambers last week. He wanted pension reform, didn't get it, so his office says he's now considering his options.

He has until Friday to sign or veto the bill or cut out parts of it. If he does nothing it automatically becomes law.

Senate aides Monday said Senators would decide Tuesday whether to agree with the House version of the final budget piece. If that drama ends in resolution then we see whether Corbett signs a budget without the pension reform he sought or opts for another round of drama -- and more national attention.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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