Pa. Senate barely passes GOP’s patchwork $29.1 billion budget

    A partisan $29.1 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that’s a few hours away has the Pennsylvania state Senate’s narrow approval.

    The Senate voted 26-24, with one Republican joining every Democrat in opposition. A nighttime House vote is expected.

    Some details of the Republican-crafted spending package remain murky because a large companion bill remains unfinished Monday evening.

    The plan cuts business taxes and calls for about $950 million more in spending, primarily for public schools, prisons, pension obligations, health care for the poor and social safety-net programs.

    Republicans say it’s a responsible plan during a difficult fiscal time.

    Democrats say it doesn’t do enough for schools or the have-nots. They say it’s built on flimsy assumptions and one-time items, including postponing bills and raiding off-budget programs.

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