The ceiling of the main Rotunda inside Pennsylvania’s Capitol building. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).
Pennsylvania lawmakers were cautiously optimistic on Wednesday that they would reach a budget agreement with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf by the end of the week.
But seven days into the new fiscal year, Senate Republicans issued a statement warning of a possible deadlock ahead of Thursday’s scheduled session.
“Discussions around the budget with the governor’s office are deteriorating, which is leading us closer to an impasse,” Erica Clayton Wright, a Senate GOP spokesperson, said in a morning press update. “The path could be corrected today pending the governor’s engagement.”
Despite some “areas of consensus among the House, Senate, and governor,” Clayton Wright said there are “several sticking points,” with the most notable being education.
“The governor is asking for an unrealistic increase of $1.8 billion for basic education, which is simply an impossible number for us to meet,” Clayton Wright said.
Elizabeth Rementer, Wolf’s press secretary, called the Senate Republicans’ description of budget negotiations “totally inaccurate.”
In an email to the Capital-Star, she said the governor, his staff, and all four legislative caucuses “have been actively engaged in talks to produce a budget that adequately funds education.”
“It is inaccurate to say the governor has a hardline stance on $1.8 billion in education spending,” Rementer said.
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