Pennsylvania lawmakers are bracing for a dizzying prospect — planning the next fiscal year’s spending before the current year’s budget has been finalized.
Dates are set for Gov. Tom Wolf’s February budget address and the legislative hearings that follow.
“I will say it will be a little bit different if we don’t have a budget concluded,” said Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed.
“You know, I don’t even know how you do a budget address if you don’t have a budget,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. “I mean, I’m not sure how you begin to build ’16-’17 if you don’t know what ’15-’16 is.”
Democrats have faulted Republicans for not having a sense of urgency to reach a compromise on a final budget in the wake of the governor’s line-item veto in late December.
Unfinished budget-related legislation is in disarray. This week, House Republicans sent a measure integral to the state spending plan to the governor’s desk, over protests of Democrats who called it flawed and inadequate. Other key bills to fund state-related universities were blocked by House Democrats wanting to force a discussion on a full year’s budget.
Several lawmakers say they’re waiting for Wolf’s budget address next month to see if the administration plans to seek funding for the rest of the current fiscal year alongside the one coming up.