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Pittman Says Budget Talks Making Progress But May Not Be Completed By Deadline

Joe Pittman and Senate Republicans

Stop me if you have heard this before … the Pennsylvania state budget for the upcoming fiscal year may not be completed on time.

“While conversations are ongoing and conversations are quite cordial, I am concerned that the productivity of those conversations is not quite to the level that they need to be to effectuate a budget on time on June 30,” said Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Indiana).

“I think there is still an opportunity for us to achieve a June 30 deadline or close to that, but I would say that the pace of conversation and the pace of movement really needs to pick up in short order if that’s going to be the case.”

With just time dwindling before the unofficial June 30 deadline to complete the state budget, more bipartisan discussions and difficult-to-achieve agreement will be needed to get across the finish line.

PA Budget Deadline

 

Back in February, Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed $48.3 billion in spending for the Commonwealth in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

Education funding is the most high-profile piece to the puzzle with the governor’s appeal for an additional $1 billion plus in 2025 as well as for each of the next four years to close the state’s adequacy gap. Commonwealth Court found Pennsylvania’s current K-12 funding system to be unconstitutional and ordered the General Assembly to find a solution.

Pittman also told reporters on Tuesday that school choice and cyber charter funding is also getting a lot of attention from lawmakers.

A year ago, Senate Republicans believed they had reached an agreement with Shapiro over so-called “Lifeline Scholarships” for K-12 students in low-performing underperforming schools. The deal never reached fruition, leaving Republicans bitter with the governor.

“We all know what occurred last year,” Pittman said. “The reality is that that effort last year has certainly set expectations within our caucus that empowering parents needs to be a key part of this conversation relative to the expectations of additional funding in the public education space.”

Shapiro said that both parties are working together on the budget issues when he was asked during a public appearance in Dauphin County about the budget.

“I was clear on my priorities four months ago when I laid out my budget. Lawmakers are now expressing their priorities.” Now, he said, both sides will compromise and get the budget done.

“Our agenda can be described best by using one word – empowerment,” said Pittman. “Because we think at the end of the day, when you empower the people of Pennsylvania, you unleash the promise of Pennsylvania.”

No House or Senate voting sessions are scheduled this week. That will change next week, when both chambers have set schedules that call for them to be at the Capitol for seven consecutive days, including the weekend of July 29-30.

Last year’s budget was not officially completed until December.





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