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State budget passes after nine months, but Wolf won’t sign it

Gov. Tom Wolf has announced he will allow the 2015-16 budget to become law — though he said he won't sign it. - (Photo / File)

Gov. Tom Wolf has relented in the prolonged budget battle of 2015-16 and announced he will allow the budget to become law — though he said he won’t sign it.

Letting the Republican-led version of the 2015-16 budget pass into law allows the earmarked funding to go out to the state-funded agencies — including public schools and the human service fields — that have worried about continued operation without those monies.

Wolf said passing the budget doesn’t mean he is in favor of it, which is why he said he refused to sign it.

“Let’s be clear: the math in this budget does not work. Next fiscal year — that already has a $2 billion deficit — will now begin with an extra $300 million deficit,” he said.

Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) said the $30 billion budget drops proposed tax hikes and increases basic education funding by $200 million. Next year, however, he said he hopes the governor will be faster to act.

“I hope the prolonged turmoil and disruption will be a lesson to him and he will sign next year’s budget as soon as we put it on his desk, instead of delaying the inevitable for nine chaotic months,” Bloom said in a statement.

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) said passing the budget was the right choice for Wolf to allow lawmakers to work on the 2016-17 budget.

“Harrisburg is broken and because of that Pennsylvania faces a budget emergency. The governor is taking steps to buy us all some time,” Dermody said. “In talking with Republican leaders during the last week it’s heartening that they acknowledged the state’s large budget deficit. The problem is identified. Now we must continue working to fix it.”

Michael Sadowski

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