Capitol Wire: Tuesday's budget negotiations focus on Rainy Day Fund

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG (June 24) – The battle over the state surplus was a major element of Tuesday’s budget negotiations, said legislative leaders who participated in those discussions.

“The Rainy Day Fund is not to be touched,” said House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Mario Civera, R-Delaware. “If that’s resolved, I think we would be good, not June 30, but maybe a day or two late.”

Democrats proposed to take about $375 million of the state’s Rainy Day budgetary reserve fund and spend it. That would leave about $500 million in it after this budget, said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia. Evans and Civera spoke after Monday’s round of negotiations.

Republicans, however, steadfastly oppose that plan.

“One thing that is not acceptable is touching the Rainy Day Fund,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Gibson Armstrong, R-Lancaster.

The caucuses could agree to use a portion of the year’s surplus destined for the Rainy Day Fund, though not already part of the fund, said Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna.

“We certainly haven’t made a backwards step,” said House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene.


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