Remember when state lawmakers finally passed a state budget after a 100-day delay? Well, the deal is still not quite done.

The original agreement was supposed to allow the expansion of table games in Pennsylvania casinos, but that proposal seems to have hit a serious road bump in the legislature. A vote planned for yesterday was delayed.

Democratic leaders had hoped the chamber would go along with their plan to gut the contents of an existing bill and insert 131 pages of completely new wording that was first shown to rank-and-file legislators Monday afternoon.

Not even a preliminary vote on that plan occurred on Tuesday, meaning a final House vote before Thursday is not likely.
 

The legislation is opposed by most Republicans and some Democrats. Some lawmakers have a problem with gambling in general, while others are concerned that the legislation is too complicated and want more time to study the bill.


The expansion of table games was part of the final budget agreement and would generate dollars for important public services.

The gambling expansion is supposed to provide more than $300 million in tax revenue to the state in the next two years. Approval of more than $700 million in discretionary state funding for universities, hospitals and museums is awaiting the bill's passage because, Gov. Ed Rendell said, the state cannot afford the tab next year without the guarantee of additional revenue from gambling.

Much of the held-up funding would go to three universities -- Penn State, Temple and Pitt -- and all three warned that delay of the money could force them to raise second-semester tuition fees.
 

The entire thing is mind-boggling. It took the legislature more than three months to pass a budget ... and it turns out that, really, it still hasn't. We'll be keeping a close eye on this issue and bring you the latest developments.

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