House panel passes $29.1 billion budget bill


A House panel on Tuesday advanced a $29.1 billion spending plan, sending the bill to the House floor six days before the deadline.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 21-14 along party lines to support the budget proposal, which uses one-time transfers to close a deficit.

The bill, which could be considered by the full House as early as Wednesday, raises no taxes and instead uses transfers of funds, including $380 million from the presumed sale of the state liquor stores, to close the budget deficit gap.

The bill slices $300 million off Gov. Corbett's proposed February budget.

Committee chairman Rep. Bill Adolph (R,. Delaware) said the bill is a "step forward" to getting a budget done by the June 30 deadline, but added that more negotiations with the Senate and the governor's office were expected.

Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni declined to comment on the proposal.

Corbett wants liquor reform passed as part of budget negotiations, but there is currently no agreement on the full sale of the state stores. Current proposals expand the sale of wine and beer in other outlets but do not "privatize" the liquor system.


The ranking Democrat on the appropriations committee Rep. Joe Markosek (D., Allegheny) criticized the budget as "half a loaf." Other Democrats called for a gas drilling tax and said education funding levels were insufficient.


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