Pennsylvania state House passes budget

    Pennsylvania is one step away from getting a new state budget into place. The state House passed the plan on a nearly party-line vote.

    Republicans say it’s a sustainable budget that includes no new taxes, despite the loss of federal stimulus funding. The final spending figure given is $27.15 billion–Democrats say gimmicks obscure millions more.

    Joe Markosek is the Democratic House Appropriations Committee Chairman.

    He’s calling the Republicans ‘budgeteers’ – and says they’ve made a spending plan fit for a magician. “I think it’s the Houdini budget, you know, as I just stand here we can think of I’m sure a lot of other terms.” said Markosek.

    Republicans are choosing their terms carefully to address the fact that their plan dips into the state’s unanticipated revenue, or surplus.

    It’s more than $600 million in tax revenue collected this fiscal year and Republicans have brought $380 million of it into their budget.

    In the past, GOP lawmakers said there’s no such thing as a surplus when the state has a deficit and $50 billion in liabilities.

    The Governor is expected to sign the bill today – it will be the first on-time budget in nine years.   

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