Gov. Rendell today signed a partial budget bill that he said will ensure paychecks begin flowing again to government workers, preserve health and safety services and jumpstart negotiations on the full 2010 spending plan.
Rendell vetoed most of the contents of a Senate budget bill but preserved $11 billion in state funding for salaries for some 77,000 state employees, as well as critical services such as police, prisons and some health care programs. He said he could not keep the Senate bill intact because it is out of balance by $1.7 billion and the constitution requires a balanced budget.
“What I am signing today is not a budget,” said Rendell. “I am signing legislation that will simply allow us to pay state employees who provide for immediate critical public health and safety services, and that will send negotiators back to the table to communicate, compromise and get real about delivering a true budget agreement for Pennsylvania.”
Billions for schools, hospitals, a myriad of programs and thousands for private contractors were stripped from the budget bill. Among the handful of programs preserved are payments to black lung victims and blind veterans and funding for life-or-death services, Rendell said, such as dialysis.
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