Committee meets to forge state budget

    By: Scott Gilbert

    A legislative conference committee holds its second meeting in Harrisburg Thursday as it works on a state budget agreement for Pennsylvania.

    By: Scott Gilbert

    A legislative conference committee holds its second meeting in Harrisburg Thursday as it works on a state budget agreement for Pennsylvania. The panel met Wednesday for the first time, but made no measurable progress.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090729sgconfcom.mp3]

    The six-member committee failed to agree on a total spending figure, on whether the panel should have a chairman, and even on which budget bill to use as a starting point.

    Yet another friction point emerged when House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans said the conference committee’s work should focus on spending, and not revenue.

    Evans: What I sense as the mission of this conference committee is to try to reconcile the investment priorities we sent over to the Senate, which the Senate didn’t agree with.

    Republicans countered that revenue projections are needed in order to set a spending amount.

    As the committee met, Governor Rendell told reporters he may ask the state House as soon as Monday to send him the budget passed by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    He says he’d ratify the portions related to core government functions, then line item veto the rest of it.

    Rendell: simply because I don’t want anybody to think that this is a potential final budget. It isn’t.

    But it would, he says, allow state workers to start getting paid again starting a week from tomorrow.

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