The latest on the budget is that House Democrats voted unanimously against the House Republicans’ budget, which is full of gimmicks and one-time revenues, and now it’s the Senate’s turn.
As I’ve been pointing out, Republicans are relying on Democrats to supply a goodly chunk of the votes for new taxes. Tom Corbett has said he’ll look at a severance tax and cigarette tax hikes if two conditions are satisfied (and really, probably just one of the two things) – a pension bill and/or a liquor privatization bill.
The House version included revenues from a liquor privatization plan (which I’m specifically non-endorsing here, because it’s a stinker) and the Senate Republicans are balking at that, so it’s probably not happening. A pension bill is mayyybe getting a vote today (there was a hearing this morning) which is likely to fail, but for some reason Corbett wants to get everybody on the record on the issue, which is super weird. If Corbett thinks this is a voting issue for anyone, he’s listening to his friends at Commonwealth Foundation and Brabender too closely and not reading the polls with his own two eyes.
Without liquor or pensions, neither of Corbett’s conditions have been satisfied and now it looks like we’re getting the all-cuts budget I predicted.
The new plan, as of Thursday night, is to try to land a 2014-15 budget of somewhere around $29 billion that is on time and balances without the help of any new taxes or increases in existing tax rates.
This could change Friday, if either chamber can lash together enough votes to pass a pension reform plan, for example.
But as of Thursday night the prognosis for that wasn’t good, despite a call for an up-or-down vote earlier in the day from Corbett.
Democrats would be foolish to vote for this in an election year, obviously.
But Republicans are relying on really tone-deaf threats against Philly schoolchildren as a strategy to sucker Philly Democrats into voting for their budget, rather than, you know, actually including Democrats in the negotiations to get a bloc of votes. Don’t give in! The election is months away, and the Republicans are about to release another nasty all-cuts budget. Philly schools aren’t going to get that much no matter what, so it’s better to loudly shame the Republicans for playing games with kids’ education, while getting in line for a party-line vote against their budget. No Democratic fingerprints should be on this thing.
(via Charles Thompson)