State budget agreement reached
Gov. Tom Corbett, center, with Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, right, and Allegheny County's executive, Rich Fitzgerald, during a light moment at a Capitol news conference designed to demonstrate a show of support as he seeks legislative approval for a $1.7 billion tax break to lure an integrated petrochemical industry to Pennsylvania on Wednesday in Harrisburg.
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HARRISBURG -- Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and top GOP lawmakers announced this evening that they've reached agreement on a $27.656 billion state budget for next year, but they declined to say what that framework may mean for education, welfare and other programs.
The overall spending figure matches what the state Senate approved in May, which restored higher education funding set to be cut under the governor's $27.14 billion plan back to the current levels and added funding for county welfare programs.
"That is a higher number than what I came in," Mr. Corbett said. "We can put some money back into some programs, but we're not yet going to go into details."
He and top Republicans also declined to discuss which other high-profile bills they aim to approve in the flurry of votes next week, other than to say they'll be discussing the proposed tax credit for Shell Oil Co. and other ethane-processing facilities with their caucus members.
"I feel very confident that we're going to have a very productive week next week," he added.
The announcement came after negotiators met throughout the day. As a mid-afternoon session broke, Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, said he believed participants were "on the precipice" of reaching agreement.
With little more than a week remaining in the fiscal year to draft legislation and move the necessary measures through both chambers, Mr. Corman acknowledged they are approaching an effective deadline to do so.
Mr. Corbett and the Republican leaders of both chambers have been meeting for weeks to resolve how much the state can spend in the year starting July 1.
First Published June 20, 2012 7:01 pm