Reporting Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Pennsylvania continues to inch closer to a new state budget ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Lawmakers held a rare Sunday session as they attempt to wrap up work on the budget and other legislation.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee Sunday was supposed to vote on the budget negotiated by the governor and legislative leaders, but it still wasn’t in final form. Nonetheless, Erik Arneson – spokesman for Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the Senate majority leader – says not to worry, “There’s no concern that this delay this early in the week will impact our ability to get the budget done on time. Thursday is June 30th, and we have every expectation that the budget will be resolved.”
Lawmakers Sunday did begin advancing budget companion bills providing funds for the four state-related universities, Temple, Lincoln, Pitt and Penn State. Those schools, and the state-owned universities, will receive cuts of under 20%, much less than the 50%-plus cuts proposed by the governor.
In the Senate, Philadelphia’s Vincent Hughes – the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee – argued unsuccessfully to use higher-than-expected revenues in the current fiscal year to eliminate those cuts entirely.
“The conversation then exists: ‘well, what do we do with those extra dollars?’ Well, here’s one appropriate way for those dollars to be invested,” Hughes argued.
For now, few other details of the budget are known.
Reported by Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060