State House Of Representatives Poised To Vote On A $28.3 Billion Budget

Harrisburg Patriot-News

The House could vote as soon as Tuesday on a $28.3 billion general fund budget for 2013-14, which raises spending from this year by a $550 million.

This plan requires no increase in broad-based taxes, such as the sales or personal income tax, to support it.

It reflects the House Republicans’ view of how available state dollars should be spent next year but it is not the final version of the budget. Negotiations are on-goingbetween House and Senate GOP leaders and Gov. Tom Corbett that will lead to a budget compromise plan that is expected to be voted by June 30.

The proposed House budget provides a $100 million increase for education than was spent this year, $10 million more than Corbett proposed.

It includes funding for 300 additional state police troopers, more money for autism services, $20 million more for services for individuals with intellectual disabilities, provides money for state fairs and other agricultural programs, more for health and welfare programs, among others changes from this year’s $27.8 billion plan.

“This is a responsible budget but it is a compassionate budget,” said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai of Allegheny County. “There are no new taxes. It is balanced.”

Democrats countered that the proposed spending plan, like the one Corbett offered in February, is riddled with missed opportunities and misplaced priorities.

During the three-hour budget discussion on the House floor, the only changes made to the plan from the version the House Appropriations Committee approved last week redirect funding from other budget lines to the civil air patrol, sickle cell anemia services, and an alternatives to abortion program.

House Democrats tried a maneuver to force a vote on expanding Medicaid to free up money for hundreds of millions of dollars in the budget for education and social services, but it was rejected by a 90-109 vote. Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats tried to a similar effort of their own, but that too fizzled.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph, R-Delaware, said such efforts are premature. He said it would undermine Corbett’s on-going negotiations with the federal government regarding expansion of the Medicaid eligibility made possible through the federal Affordable Care Act’s effort to provide medical coverage to the currently uninsured.