The Senate Republicans’ latest endeavor to provide much-needed financial relief following the governor’s swift veto of House Bill 1192 in June would provide $11.2 billion in state allocations, representing a full third of state funding authorized in the vetoed measure.
Republicans insist that the Democratic governor is really fighting for higher taxes.
Republicans are asking a volley of questions about the governor’s counteroffer involving gestures toward two key GOP demands: that the state privatize its control of wine and liquor sales and replace the traditional pension benefit for future school and state government employees with contributions to a 401(k)-style retirement plan.
Meanwhile, waiting lists are growing for the elderly seeking day-to-day help in their homes.
The bill is intended to cover four months of funding, retroactive to the start of the fiscal year through October. 31, and would release $24 billion in federal funds. The only thing certain was that the governor has not budged on his intention to veto the plan.
The Wolf administration says the state isn’t able to make county child welfare payments until a budget is approved. Mr. Wolf and Democrats have opposed the measure, describing it as an alternative to serious negotiations.
“At some point in time, somebody’s got to pay for this”, he said. For example, county commissioners have only authorized payment of invoices through September.
House Republicans argued during several hours of floor debate Thursday that a stopgap budget is necessary while the two sides work toward a final deal.
“The funding plan before us is not a gimmick, a ploy or a public relations stunt”, Murt said.
Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, said the short-term bill was simply a “bailout” that would temporarily relieve pressure on Republicans to compromise. With Halloween coming, Joe Markosek, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said the stopgap funding is loaded with “phony treats”.