Budget spending cap creates headaches among Pa. House Democrats

    Pennsylvania House lawmakers have an official spending cap on their budget proposal, and it’s causing dismay within the Democratic minority.

    Democrats described their position in a House Appropriations Committee meeting as “stifled and smothered.”

    The Republican majority has voted to recognize a $27.6 billion ceiling in upcoming floor votes on a budget package.

    The figure is equal to the overall spending plan passed by the Senate, and a $500 million higher than Governor Corbett’s proposal.

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    Committee chairman Bill Adolph, a Republican, suggests the move doesn’t mean the budget is set in stone.

    “This is not going to be the final budget, I’m telling you that,” said Adolph. “I’m going to be working with members on both sides of the aisle. But I can guarantee it: The amendments will be revenue neutral.”

    But Democrats say the ceiling has been set too low, leaving out $300 million they insist will be available to restore funding to line items like education and social services.

    Republicans say the state can’t count on another $300 million, because the latest economic data shows a slowdown in tax revenues.

    The full House could vote on a budget bill as early as the first week of June.

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