No Pa. Budget, But Some Progress

After hours of intense negotiations, early Tuesday morning negotiators for Governor Ed Rendell and legislative leaders went home without a budget agreement, but they did make some progress.

"Today was a good day. We're getting much, much closer,'' said Rendell's chief of staff Steve Crawford, the administration's lead negotiator, as he walked out of the Capitol offices of Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County, around 2:20 a.m.

Pileggi also cautioned that they were by no means finished."There is more work to do to tie down some of the details although we have an understanding about the major components of the framework of the budget.''

Republicans control the senate and Pileggi told The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier Monday that the senate was prepared to pass a budget by Wednesday night's deadlines, with or without Rendell's support. His tone was tempered in the early morning hours when negotiations wrapped.

At that point, he said it was still possible to pass a budget by the deadline but that doing so would require a suspension of a House rule governing how quickly the chamber can take up legislation.

"The major outline of this agreement is in place, but the details are important because, as we've said from the beginning, unless all of the components of the outline are agreed to then none of the components are agreed to,'' Pileggi said.

The final 2010-11 budget is expected to be about $28 billion, a slight increase over this fiscal year's approved spending level. A $28 billion-plus budget would be less than a percentage point higher than the $27.8 billion 2009-10 budget that passed in October after a 101-day standoff.

Talks are set to resume Tuesday morning.

Contact Us