HEADLINES : Pennsylvania
Pa. Senate approves alternative to gov's budget
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday passed a $27.7 billion spending plan that would erase many cuts proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett, setting the stage for negotiations over the state budget that must be in place by July 1.
The plan penned by the Senate GOP majority was approved on a 39-8 vote and sent to the House after a brief debate in which Democrats pressed unsuccessfully for additional spending for poor adults, early childhood education and health care for the poor. Republicans defended the proposal as a solid starting point.
"This plan does not create a single new program. It does not raise a single tax," said Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware. "This is a responsible, sustainable state budget."
The proposal counts on about $900 million from tax collections that are more robust than projected during the current and next fiscal years. It would tap that money to increase spending by about $500 million in the 2012-13 budget and forestall some cuts Corbett has proposed in education, social services and other areas.