With 27 days left, clock ticking for Pennsylvania budget

    Governor Ed Rendell got negotiations underway yesterday, holding his first major budget meeting with legislative leaders.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers have 27 days “to go” before this year’s state spending plan is due.

    Governor Ed Rendell got negotiations underway yesterday, holding his first major budget meeting with legislative leaders.

    Emerging from Governor Rendell’s official residence, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said he sensed a “willingness” on Rendell’s part to get the budget passed by the June 30th deadline.

    But, a few hours later, Rendell told reporters he wants to see another increase in basic education spending, and he’s happy to drag negotiations into mid-summer to make sure that happens.

    “There’s room for compromise,” said Rendell. “But, let me say, there’s nothing more important to the commonwealth’s future. Nothing. And you know how much I’ve devoted myself to education, and seeing that our schools have the resources that our kids can have the full potential. And guys, I’m ready. I’m ready for 101 days, if necessary.”

    Rendell is asking for a basic education increase of $354 million this year, but hinted he’s willing to settle for less.

    He also acknowledged the final budget will likely be lower than the $29 billion spending plan he submitted in February.

    Pileggi and other Republican leaders say this year’s $1.2 billion budget shortfall means Rendell’s education request is unrealistic.

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