Lawmakers say they can finish state budget in short order

Pa. Capitol Building, Harrisburg. (Kevin McCorry/WHYY)

Pa. Capitol Building, Harrisburg. (Kevin McCorry/WHYY)

Pennsylvania might have its state budget—or at least part of it—done by the end of this week.

Rank and file members don’t have much information yet. But if all goes to plan, Republican leaders say a proposal could make it through the House by the end of this week, and the Senate at the beginning of next—well ahead of the June 30th deadline.

“Very confident we’ll be able to advance a final product at the end of this week into next week,” Senate GOP Appropriations Chair Pat Browne said.

The new budget isn’t expected to include any new revenue. House Republican Leader Dave Reed said spending will also have to be limited.

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“People have some interest here and there, particularly on education, school safety,” he said. “But I think overall it’ll be similar to the budget we had last year. You’ll probably see spending increase below the rate of inflation, which I think is a good thing.”

Last year, a multi-billion-dollar revenue shortfall helped keep the budgeting process in limbo for four months.

This week, the state’s Independent Fiscal Office reported the commonwealth will end the fiscal year fairly close to projections.

Taken together with next year’s relatively strong revenue estimates, that indicates lawmakers will probably have between $450 and $650 million more dollars to spend next fiscal year, when compared to the current one.

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