Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are getting increasingly upset about the state of the state. It has a budget, but no revenue plan to fund it.
Without a funding plan to support the budget, Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, said she’s worried rating agencies again will downgrade Pennsylvania, driving up the cost of borrowing money.
“Over the past six years, we’ve had five credit downgrades that cost us an awful lot of money in increased borrowing interest, more than $100 million,” she said Monday.
And borrowing is not the way to fund the spending plan, said fellow Democrat Rep. Mary Jo Daley, also of Montgomery County.
“The Republican revenue proposals we’ve been hearing about fail to provide fair and sustainable solutions to our budget mess — and are heavily reliant on borrowing more money and increasing our debt to provide for operating costs,” she said.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republicans leading the Legislature are still far apart on negotiations.
Pennsylvania senators are back in the Capitol, but with no agreements in sight on elements of the state government’s threadbare budget.
Monday’s Senate session could be a prelude to floor votes later in the week to fully fund a nearly $32 billion budget law that negotiators say is about $1.5 billion out of balance.
Wolf is seeking a tax package big enough to avoid a downgrade to Pennsylvania’s bruised credit rating. But House Republican officials are balking, and pushing for a final agreement that includes their priorities, such as tougher limits on Medicaid benefits.
Stuck in the Legislature are measures to revive the flow of casino revenue to host counties and municipalities and deliver approximately $600 million to Penn State, Pitt, Temple, Lincoln and Penn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.