Thursday, September 24, 2015

House Republicans Send Stopgap Budget Package To Governor For His Certain Veto

By party line votes of 117 to 83, 113 to 86 and 112 to 87, House Republicans approved the Senate-House Republican stopgap budget package and sent the package to Gov. Wolf for his action.  The Governor has said he would veto the bills “very fast,” presumably as soon as he gets the paperwork.
The stopgap budget bills include Senate Bill 1000 (Browne-R-Lehigh) General Fund Stopgap Budget Bill (summary and Senate Fiscal Note); Senate Bill 1001 (Browne-R-Lehigh) Fiscal Code Stopgap Bill (summary and Senate Fiscal Note); and amended House Bill 224 (Christiana-R -Beaver) with the Education Code Stopgap Bill (summary and Senate Fiscal Note).
This action follows 14 failed attempts by House Republicans three weeks ago to override Gov. Wolf’s veto of portions of the budget Republicans passed in June.
The stopgap budget is about $11.2 billion of the $30.2 billion General Fund budget passed by Republicans in June and includes the so-called "agreed-to" budget provisions included in the vetoed House Bill 1192 General Fund budget bill in June.  
It also includes funding for the Senate and House and the Judiciary as well as the pass-through of federal funding to state agencies and organizations reliant on that money.
Click Here for a Senate Republican spreadsheet on the General Fund stopgap budget.
The new Fiscal Code bill has project funding and other special provisions legislators put in the original Fiscal Code bill-- Senate Bill 655-- vetoed by Gov. Wolf in June.
Republicans Urge Governor To Approve
Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) issued this statement Thursday after House passage of the Republican stopgap budget package: “This budget should have been done weeks ago but for the governor’s unreasonable and unrealistic positions which have no support. The governor could have and should have signed into law the agreed-upon expenditures for human services, schools and other important modes of funding.”
Turzai noted the General Assembly agreed to nearly 70 percent of what the governor asked for in his budget, including money necessary for human services like those provided by rape crisis and domestic violence centers. The House passed the on-time, fiscally responsible budget June 30. The vetoed budget also contained record-setting school funding.
“The days of manufactured chaos and crisis are over, and the people and Legislature will no longer tolerate such an unprofessional, irresponsible and uncaring approach to governance.”
Turzai called on Gov. Tom Wolf to take a careful look at the emergency funding measures he has threatened to veto “very fast.” Instead, he urged him to sign the bills into law and to actually begin to negotiate in good faith.
“That children sit in Pennsylvania schools today without new textbooks and victims of violence may not be able to get necessary support is unacceptable.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) released this statement following House’s approval of the stopgap budget:
“As members of the General Assembly, we continue to do our job to ensure that taxpayers’ money being collected by Harrisburg is returned to schools and communities. Implementing this emergency funding plan is our best option to help fund our schools and human services organizations that are being hit hard by the loss of state funds. This is an opportunity to keep that money flowing back to our communities while we forge a compromise.
“The reality is – we have a long way to go in our negotiations. As part of that, we respect that the Governor has some very deeply held principles, just as we hope he respects ours. However, there is no good explanation for withholding the taxpayer money already paid to Harrisburg from our communities.
“We recognize that the impacts on our communities are very real. Social service agencies are taking out loans, community groups are cutting services and school districts are talking about closing.
“We call on Gov. Wolf to put aside the rhetoric and join us in providing emergency funding for our schools and community organizations while a final budget agreement continues to be negotiated. We challenge him to sign the emergency funding and use his line-item veto to cut any appropriation he views as non-essential including funding for a state agency or the General Assembly.”

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