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November 23, 2015

Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania budget deal crumbling in Harrisburg

Republicans not supporting governor's plan to cut property taxes that fund the state's public schools

Gov. Tom Wolf said the tentative deal with Republican lawmakers for a state budget is in "deep peril," the Associated Press reported Monday.

Pennsylvania's budget is now five months overdue.

  • The Pennsylvania Senate is debating the merits of legislation that would cut property taxes – to fund public schools – in favor of higher state income and sales taxes. Watch the action live.

The Democratic governor made the comment during a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon, noting that Republican leaders had informed Wolf last last week they were having difficulty garnering support among GOP members for the portion of the deal calling for cutting property taxes that fund public schools.

The AP reported the framework of the Wolf administration's spending plan would eliminate a budget deficit, provide hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for public schools and rework the state's public pensions and the state-owned liquor stores.

According to the AP

Wolf said the sides have to "end this nonsense," and urged lawmakers to get some version of a full-year budget — as opposed to a temporary deal while real talks continue — to his desk by Dec. 4. Asked if that meant he would sign anything that gets to him by that deadline, he replied: "I think we need a reasonable budget" and that "people have been holding out for too long."

Schools, social service agencies and more have been struggling to operate without receiving their expected allotments from the state. Here are some of those that have been reported on:

In Bucks and Lancaster counties, officials are considering returning the favor to the state. Leaders in both counties are considering withholding money collected from real estate transfer taxes and court fees that would normally be forwarded along to Harrisburg.

In Bucks County that amounts to about $5 million per month