House Convenes to Finish Budget Item

Jul 15, 2013

State House lawmakers are coming back to Harrisburg to finish up budget business Monday. A final concurrence vote is expected to approve what's called the fiscal code, a bill full of key fund transfers.

The summer vote was prompted when the Senate took language out of the legislation that suggested the Legislature intended to legalize payday lending.

Such loans are controversial, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said it didn't belong in a budget-related item.

Steve Miskin, House GOP spokesman, said the loose language wasn't a move to try to compel the Legislature to act.

"That's all it was: a post-it note, a note to self, a bookmark, whatever, however you want to phrase it," Miskin said. "It was not binding. It had, really had no meaning except to legislators."

The House isn't the only chamber that added last-minute controversial provisions to budget-related items. The Senate added language to compel a Medicaid expansion and a tax credit to other key budget legislation — neither of which had been agreed to by House Republicans.

For about a week, it wasn't clear if the House would interrupt its summer recess to reconvene and vote on the fiscal code, sans payday lending language. But the legislation moves a lot of money around. The governor's budget secretary issued a warning that leaving the fiscal code to languish until fall could leave the commonwealth nearly $300 million short on available funds.