Gov. Rendell has asked House Democrats to act on Senate Bill 850 before Monday so state workers can be paid. Yesterday he promised to blue line-- veto-- all but 75 budget line items that would keep critical state government programs functioning. He also said he would immediately furlough 300 state workers as he promised to do.
Conference Committee "moderator" Rep. Dwight Evans has suspended the Conference Committee meetings until he, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) and Gov. Rendell can meet on budget issues.
At a noontime press conference, Gov. Rendell again was critical of the progress being made by the Budget Conference Committee and Senate Republicans in particular for taking time again on procedural issues.
The Governor also chastised Senate President Pro Tempre Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) for setting a special election date of September 29, rather than waiting for the regular November election just four weeks later. He said the special election will cost taxpayers $400,000. That money, he said, could help fund necessary government programs.
He said again members of the Conference Committee should act like adults.
The morning session of the Budget Conference Committee again dissolved into bickering about procedural issues and what items the Committee would discuss first.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) said Conference Committee moderator (they haven't agreed he's Chair yet) Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) failed to keep an agreement to have staffers from the Governor's Budget Office at the meeting today to answer questions about available tax revenues for the new fiscal year. He pointed to empty seats on the stage of the Forum Building where the meeting is taking place and said if the budget was so important to the Governor, then he'd have his people there.
The remainder of the morning session was taken up with talking about various education line items with Rep. Evans questioning his own Appropriations Committee staff.