HARRISBURG - Final details were being ironed out yesterday on a $27.15 billion budget agreement between Gov. Corbett and top lawmakers that is expected to cut spending by about 3 percent and deliver deep cuts in aid for public schools and state-supported universities.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said that there is an agreement on many parts of the budget and that he hopes the rest will be resolved in time for a budget bill to be presented on Sunday in the chamber's Appropriations Committee.
The plan under consideration would cut spending about 3 percent from this year's $28 billion budget as Corbett and his fellow Republicans, who control the Legislature, have scoured state government for cuts in an effort to fill a projected multibillion-dollar budget hole without new taxes.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman described a $27.15 billion budget framework that includes small changes to a budget bill that passed the House last month.
That bill would cut more than $1.1 billion in aid to public schools and 18 state-supported universities while seeking about $470 million in savings and reductions from the wide array of social and human services in the Department of Public Welfare's $11 billion budget.
"We're down to the final pieces here. It's pretty solid," said Corman, R-Centre.
One item still under discussion is the amount of aid that hospitals will receive for their role in caring for the poor or uninsured, Corman said.
"Work is still being done, but I have confidence that we will have a budget on time," Corbett said.
Democrats have not been included in budget talks and have criticized Republicans' insistence on cutbacks in government spending. The state has hundreds of millions of dollars more in surplus money that it could use to ease the proposed cuts, which will inflict long-term damage on Pennsylvania's economy, quality of life and social-safety net, Democrats contend.