indicated in my July 2 post, Governor Tom Corbett has withheld his signature on
the recently passed state budget to use this leverage in an effort to secure
some sort of public employee pension reform legislation. You can read the Governor’s statement (attached to this message as a PDF). By July 10, the Governor can do any of the
the budget bill as is;
certain parts of it;
the entire state budget bill; or,
nothing and the budget becomes law without his signature.
Governor held a July 2 press conference to keep up the pressure for a pension
reform bill. When asked if he might consider vetoing the state budget if
a pension bill does not pass the House and Senate, he replied, "All options are
on the table.” Few expect a full veto
although anything is possible.
important companion legislation for the budget has devolved into a bit of
ping-pong. H.B. 278 is what’s known as
a "Fiscal Code” bill and it includes language authorizing dozens of state
agencies—including the State Library—to spend the money appropriated in the new
state budget. This bill will also give
authority to the State Librarian to consider requests from local libraries to
waive certain standards that were enacted when funding levels were higher.
On July 1,
the State Senate passed H.B. 278 and sent it to the House. The House on July 2 passed it as well but,
surprisingly, changed some parts of it which, in turn, requires the State
Senate to vote again. This means that,
contrary to their plans, the Senate will need to return to Harrisburg on July 8
to consider it again. If they change it
back, then the House will need to return to Harrisburg as well to re-consider
their position. And so it goes.
addition, the Governor has said that he will not make a final decision on the
state budget until he sees the details of a General Assembly-passed
Fiscal Code bill, too. If he holds to that, the earliest all of this
could be resolved finally is next Wednesday, July 9.
new state budget has been approved by the legislature, and it level-funds
Corbett is holding off signing the budget in order to put pressure on the
legislature to pass some form of public employee pension reform;
(H.B. 278) required to specify how money
in the state budget should be spent is delayed by a dispute between the Senate
Governor will not decide on signing the state budget until he receives an
approved version of H.B. 278; and,
heads are expected to prevail during the week of July 7 to finalize all of the
budget details, but sometimes unexpected things happen in election years.
come soon. PaLA will keep you posted as
developments occur. Best wishes for a
Happy Fourth of July and a peaceful conclusion to the state budget soon.