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Pa. House GOP to test budget-balancing plan in growing stalemate

Pa. House GOP to test budget-balancing plan in growing stalemate”

Despite the so-called taxpayers budget gaining traction in the house, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf reportedly opposes the Republican plan stating that it would have consequences on a wide range of communities.

Stymied by dissension among Republicans, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives put off preliminary votes Tuesday on measures created to plug state government's $2.2 billion budget gap with money siphoned partly from public-transportation and environmental-improvement programs.

The governor supports a bipartisan tax-and-borrowing plan that passed the Senate in July, but is deeply unpopular with House members.

Does this mean no online casinos for Pennsylvania?

A vote could occur as early as Tuesday.

It's not clear whether it has enough support to pass.

The Republican-controlled Legislature is averse to the kind of tax increase that would stabilize Pennsylvania's deficit-riddled finances.

House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, informed rank-and-file lawmakers that they would remain in Harrisburg until a revenue package passes.

Plans to legalise online casinos in Pennsylvania have always been discussed, however failure to agree on a definite budget in the state means these proposals can not yet be put into effect. Hanging in the balance is another downgrade to Pennsylvania's battered credit rating and about $600 million in annual aid to four universities - the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State, Temple and Lincoln universities - that give tuition breaks to in-state students.

With the state's main bank account scheduled to hit zero on Friday, Wolf's administration is warning the eight insurers that administer benefits for 2.2 million Medicaid enrollees that they might not receive their monthly payments of about $800 million on time.

A loan would help the state make its payments on time until the spring, when a large volume of tax collections is due.

Wolf supports the Senate's plan. Another $1.3 billion would come from floating bonds.

It also would increase taxes on consumers' utility bills - in particular, natural gas service - and impose a production tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, a key demand of Wolf's.

If lawmakers do not scrounge more money, the state's largest teacher's union warned that a almost $1 billion cut to public school aid is possible. With interest, that ultimately could cost the state $2 billion or more.

"Overcrowded classrooms have now become the norm", McCracken said, "and students are paying the price".



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