On Tuesday, the Senate passed the “Fiscal Code,” an outline of the spending rules that accompanies the budget. Governor Corbett had indicated that he wanted to see the details of the Fiscal Code before making his decision on the budget. It passed by a 26-22 vote.
The body also took up the Philly cigarette tax, a $2 surcharge that would’ve went to enabling additional funds for the city’s schools, which are in desperate need of cash. The bill was amended, however, which means it will have to be taken up again by the House.
The only problems with that is the House is already in recess until mid-September.
Given that the state legislature will only be in session for a dozen days in the fall and that it will be in the heat of election season, it is highly unlikely anything of consequence will get done.
All the while we wait to see if Governor Corbett signs the budget. His office says he is still reviewing it, he has until Friday to sign or veto the measure or else it automatically becomes law. The Fiscal Code, though, holds the key to distributing the funds meaning the budget would be an empty shell without it.
Update: As first reported by Capitolwire’s Kevin Zwick, the House will now return on August 4th. According to House Speaker Sam Smith, the House may take up votes and could be in session for as long as three days.