Pa. lawmakers announce budget compromise

Sept. 11, 2009 at 8:43 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania lawmakers announced agreement Friday on a budget "framework" that could end an impasse that has made the state the last to pass a spending plan.

But Gov. Ed Rendell told a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he would veto the $27.9 billion budget.

"This budget is not balanced for this year, and it's a billion dollars short for next year," Rendell said. "If (lawmakers) override it, they override it."

Doing so would lead to a $1 billion deficit next year, he said.

Rendell's conditions for a budget include increased spending for education and healthcare and adequate revenue to fund new spending, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The budget impasse is in its third month. Rendell and the Democratic majority in the House wanted to balance the budget with new taxes, while Republicans, who control the Senate, pushed for spending cuts.

The bipartisan compromise would avoid increases in sales or income taxes, but would raise taxes on cigarettes and some business taxes. It also would allow table games at slot machine parlors to bring in new revenue.

The budget would increase spending on education and healthcare, though not as much as Rendell has sought.

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