The Pennsylvania Legislature failed to fund the spending plan that was passed earlier in July due to a decision that was taken at a closed door Republican caucus on July 22. The GOP tried to heal the two billion-dollar wound without imposing any taxes. It predictably failed to do so.
Drew Crompton, the spokesperson for the Senate Republicans, said that the Republican dominated chamber will revert to sessions in the coming weeks so that a funding plan can be worked on. The chamber will also go through the number of other elements present in the incomplete $32 million budget package. He said that he has doubts on whether the House GOP members seek consensus.
Mike Turzai, the House Speaker, and a Republican voted from Allegheny, sent the GOP lawmakers back to their constituencies after they failed to reach an agreement on a particular proposal. The latter blends $1.5 billion of borrowed money with millions extracted from the number of off-budget programs. This approach, it was hoped, will result in avoiding the imposition of a steeper tax regime. The House Speaker informed the media that the GOP members had convincingly rejected a plan with annual payments from a multi-state settlement with the tobacco companies reached in 1998 will result in sufficient amount of money getting borrowed so that the state finances can gloss over a huge deficit. Turzai said that Republicans have fully rejected the securitization of the caucus. The House Speaker added that GOP members are not interested in bailing out Tom Wolf, the Democratic Governor or the Senate.
A few GOP members preferred a severance tax to be imposed on the natural gas production from Marcellus Shale. They were also open to other kinds of revenue streams which could be accessed in the future. This was leaked by Representative Gene DiGirolamo, a Republican elected from Bucks. Rep. DiGirolamo is a recognized centrist hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia. He said that there is a need for a few recurring revenues to stream into the budget.
House Speaker Turzai said that it is the Senate's responsibility to send the tax bill. This raises the possibility that the anti-tax caucus could ultimately be forced to take a decision on whether to go for a floor vote concerning a revenue bill which a majority of its members will oppose. The House Speaker said that he is perfectly okay to listen to such concerns.