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Schools’ Funding A Hostage In Budget Standoff

HARRISBURG PA – Pennsylvania’s state budget could be in limbo until at least the end of this week, further delaying certain knowledge of state basic funding for education for school districts like Pottsgrove, Pottstown and the Spring-Ford area, The (Pittsburgh PA) Tribune-Review newspaper reported Sunday (July 6).

Schools' Funding A Hostage In Budget StandoffTribune-Review state Capitol reporter Brad Bumsted reported Gov. Tom Corbett continues to refuse to sign the $29.1 billion budget delivered June 30 to his desk, “saying he would withhold his signature while lawmakers worked on pension reform proposals.” But the state House of Representatives committed only to consider pension reform in the fall, leaving the budget unapproved.

Now Corbett has four choices in the budget standoff, Bumsted wrote. He could:

  • Sign the budget, which has no tax increase but generally adds more money for education;
  • Let it become law without his signature on Friday (July 11), because a governor has 10 days to consider legislation before it automatically becomes law;
  • Veto the entire bill; or
  • Veto some spending in the bill, including the Legislature’s funding. The General Assembly spends $300 million a year and has a surplus of about $150 million. Corbett would challenge the Legislature by doing so, which could be politically risky.

Corbett also could call a special session, which requires lawmakers to gavel into session, but he cannot compel them to consider pension reform if they return, according to Bumsted. He cited experts who claim special sessions have had mixed success over the years. Lawmakers can gavel out of special session and into regular session to consider anything they want.

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