PA budget framework deal reached

Gov. Rendell and legislative leaders reached agreement on a $28 billion state spending plan early this morning after hours of intense negotiations.

"We have the outline of an agreement," said Senate Majority leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) emerging from talks at 2:20 a.m. Tuesday.

But Pileggi cautioned: "We are not finished. There is more work to do to tie down some of the details."

Pileggi said legislative leaders and the administration would focus on reaching a final deal for the 2010-2011 spending plan when talks resume at 9 a.m. He said the Senate would likely vote on the bill later on Tuesday, but that the state House would have to suspend the rules in order to have a budget to the governor's desk by the deadline of midnight June 30.

He said the final spending amount would be $28 billion "and some change" - a compromise between Rendell's $29 billion proposal and the $27.5 billion that Republicans sought.

Pileggi did not offer additional specifics about how to close the projected $1.5 billion deficit, but said the deal:

Anticipates federal Medicaid funding which is tied up in legislation that has yet to get the votes needed for passage in the U.S. Congress.

Would increase basic education funding.

Include an agreement on a new tax on the extraction of natural gas in the lucrative Marcellus Reserve.





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