Pa. budget talks stall, veto override fails

    Pennsylvania budget negotiations are still on hold as the Democratic governor vets a GOP olive branch that would trade pension changes for education funding.

    Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday he wanted one more day to review a plan that would increase K-12 schools funding by $400 million in return for an overhaul of retirement benefits for future state and school employees.

    “I need to understand the offer. I’m still working on it,” said Wolf as a meeting with legislative leaders wrapped up Tuesday afternoon.

    Republican Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman expressed skepticism that Wolf really needed more time to respond to the offer.

    “I think it probably had more to do with the veto overrides they’re planning in the House than it did his questions,” said Corman. “But we’ll wait.”

    Hours later, House Republicans failed to secure the two-thirds majority necessary for a piecemeal override of the governor’s late-June budget veto. They said the move would have allowed state funding to flow to certain social services and schools.

    But Democrats repeatedly voted against the partial override. They pointed to an advisory opinion from the Legislative Reference Bureau that called such a move unconstitutional.

    “It doesn’t seem to make sense constitutionally,” said Wolf, “and I’m not sure what it achieves.”

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