PA-BGT: What Will Wolf Do?
After Republicans in the State Senate threw their support behind a $30.3 billion spending plan written by House GOP leaders, it is now up to the first-year governor to decide its fate.
The Senate voted 33-17 to send the reduced spending plan to Wolf’s desk. The plan includes a small tax increase to cover the 4.5% spending increase and substantially less public education funding, Marc Levy of the Associated Press reports.
Before leaving for the holidays on Wednesday, the PA House stalled on the agreement between Wolf and General Assembly leaders, and instead began working on the reduced budget. Senate Republicans then backed the new House-written plan after pension reform legislation died in the House.
If he does not sign the bill, social service providers across the state will look at implementing contingency plans. Some school districts, including Philadelphia, may not be able to operate in the New Year without a state budget. Millions in federal funding is also being held up in Harrisburg as the stalemate grinds on.
Wolf thought he had reached a deal with House and Senate GOP leaders on a $30.8 billion budget – the 6% spending increase he wanted. The extra $500 million in that plan also satisfied Wolf’s demands with an additional $350 million for public education.
It is unclear whether Wolf will put pen to paper on a bill which he does not feel fully restores the cuts to education funding under former Gov. Tom Corbett. Wolf vetoed a similar bill on June 30 to kick off the 181-day standoff.