PA Senate Passes Stopgap Budget, Wolf Vowing To Veto

Sep 18, 2015

The state Senate has passed what may be a doomed interim state budget meant to get public money flowing again to schools, social services providers, and a variety of other projects.

Debate wrapped up quickly Friday as the Republican-controlled Senate voted along party lines to pass the stopgap budget.

Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto the package, criticizing the GOP’s concern for schools and social services as disingenuous.

“We should be at the budget table negotiating a budget. We should not be at the microphone,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia). “This bill is another gimmick.”

But GOP Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said the stopgap measures provide a way to stall for time as budget negotiations continue.

“I’m embarrassed that it’s September and we haven’t gotten this done. Obviously, it takes two to tango, so we’re as responsible as the other side,” said Corman. “That’s the way it is. It’s a pox on all our houses, as they say.”

The $11 billion stopgap would release four months of public money for schools and social services, retroactively funding them from July through October. A full year’s worth of federal funding, and other special funds, are included in the legislation. 

But the package also includes millions of dollars for other pet projects, such municipal sewer upgrades, avian flu preparedness and security for the pope’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia.

The GOP-controlled House is expected to take up the measure next week.