GOP legislative leaders to huddle with Corbett on Pa. budget plans

    With their sights set on passing a budget in mid-June, Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania say they will meet with Gov. Tom Corbett early next week to present a joint spending plan.

    Procedurally, it falls to the state House to make changes to the Senate’s $27.7 billion budget plan, which contains a half-million dollars more than what the governor proposed.

    The Senate’s plan was based on better-than-expected tax revenues in March and April, and it features a nearly full restoration of funding for higher education, to the current year’s levels.

    House Majority Leader Mike Turzai says his caucus wants to make sure, if state system and state-related universities get the money, they won’t turn around and pass tuition increases.

    “We’re looking at what tuition increases have been over a 10-year period,” said Turzai, R-Allegheny. “We’re gathering that data and I think that’s crucial to any discussion we have with respect to higher-ed restorations.”

    Turzai says he still thinks a final budget should be no bigger than the Senate’s $27.7 billion proposal.

    He and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, also are defending the Senate plan’s zeroing out of a state-funded cash benefit program providing about $200 a month to disabled adults who can’t work.

    They say competition is fierce for state funding.

    Pileggi says it’s still possible a final spending plan could be passed by mid-June.

    “That is an optimistic time frame, but an achievable one,” he said Wednesday. “It will depend on the governor’s response to the Senate and House spending bill.”

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