At the initial meeting of the Senate-House Budget Conference Committee members argued over committee rules, over what issues to start with first-- Senate/House Republicans-- what the total spend will be-- or House/Senate Democrats with individual line items. It went on for four hours.
At a press conference one hour into the Conference Committee discussions, Gov. Rendell said if there is not substantial progress by Monday, he will ask the House to send him Senate Bill 850-- the Senate Republican budget-- and he will blue line, veto, all line items in the bill that are not absolutely critical to the operation of state government-- fewer than 75 lines out of over 700 will survive. He said it's not a stopgap, and not a real budget, but a bridge budget.
Gov. Rendell said it would take 5 days to get state workers their first check after a budget bill is signed. He also said there would be an immediate layoff of 300 state workers when the bill is signed.
Budget conferees will meet again Thursday morning starting at 9:00 a.m.