Gov. Rendell signs budget, some key details still remain
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: Today Gov. Ed Rendell signed a $28 billion budget for FY 2010-11, but key details of the spending plan have not been fully worked out. While signing the bill at Elmwood Elementary School, Rendell stressed the difficult nature of this budget during hard fiscal times, stating "Everyone dislikes something about this budget. There are many spending cuts that I would much rather have avoided. We had to reduce spending on many programs that are important to me and to millions of other Pennsylvanians, but there is simply no way to balance our budget without pain." He also expressed regret that the legislature refused to tax cigars and smokeless tobacco, increase cigarette taxes, and close a loophole used by businesses to get around the corporate net income tax.
The budget includes a $250 million increase for education spending, but nearly every other state Department saw drastic cuts. While it does not include any new taxes, the legislature left a number of key details until they meet again in the fall. These include a possible tax on natural gas extraction, details for a controversial legislative budget office, and how to fill the deficit if $850 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements is not passed by Congress.