HARRISBURG — Work on a new state budget for Pennsylvania will plow into next week as the state government started the fiscal year Friday with diminished spending authority and details of a new spending plan still largely a secret.
Leaders of the Republican-controlled House and Senate sent rank-and-file lawmakers home through the holiday weekend, to return Tuesday. Top lawmakers, meanwhile, publicly professed confidence that closed-door negotiations on a roughly $42 billion spending plan were on the right track.
“Everybody is working hard, both sides of the aisle, the governor’s office, everybody’s doing the best they can to get this over the hump and move on,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York. “But I think we’ll have a good product when we’re done.”
Without new spending authority in place, the state is legally barred from making some payments, although a stalemate must typically last several weeks before any effect on services is felt.
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For now, the state’s bank account is flush with billions in extra cash. It is not in danger of running out of money and has plenty of cash to make payments that it is legally required to make, a Treasury Department spokesperson said.
Negotiators had yet to unveil full details of a plan to rank-and-file lawmakers — who must still vote on budget legislation — or publish hundreds of pages of budget-related legislation that typically underpin such a spending plan.