Amid pandemic uncertainty, Pa. House advances temporary budget

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio)  Facing a deadline at the end of June to produce a new budget with an uncertain revenue picture caused by the pandemic, the state House Tuesday sent a temporary budget plan to the Senate.

A spokesman for House majority Republicans says the budget bill would fund most line items for the first five months of the new fiscal year at 2019-2020 levels, with the major exception being education line items, most of which would be funded for 12 months at the same level as the current fiscal year. 

“With the movement of the tax collection dates to July and August of this year, and uncertainty about the reopening of Pennsylvania, we simply cannot have enough data at this time to make an informed decision about a full year’s budget,” said Republican Stan Saylor, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 

The temporary budget bill narrowly passed the Republican-controlled House. 

The Senate is expected to take it up later this week. 

During a news conference earlier Tuesday, Gov. Wolf indicated he’s engaged in budget discussions with the legislature, and acknowledged that some “unusual things” will have to be done.