Episode 56: The art of the “get out of town” budget

It’s a brave new world for the commonwealth’s budget process—at least compared to the last decade or so. For the first time in many years, lawmakers are poised to pass a budget ahead of the June 30th deadline, and Wolf is likely to sign it after letting the previous three plans pass without a signature.
Their proposal has made it through the House and, as of Friday morning, is awaiting final Senate consideration. It’s a mostly status-quo bill—spending $32.7 billion, or about 1.7 percent more than last year’s plan.
That extra cash doesn’t come from any new revenue (there’s none in the plan) but instead, from strong returns in the 2017-18 fiscal year, healthy projections next year, and some internal transfers. Plus, election year pressures are giving lawmakers extra incentive to agree to a plan and get out of Harrisburg fast.
WITF’s Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer leads a discussion on the ins and outs of the budget plan with Capitolwire Bureau Chief Chris Comisac and Marc Levy of the Associated Press—plus explains why all budget numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.
We’ll also provide an update on lawmakers’ long-awaited congressional redistricting overhaul, which seems increasingly unlikely to pass the House in time to impact the 2021 redistricting process.
And just a note: This episode of the podcast was recorded live as an episode of WITF’s morning show, Smart Talk. That means it’s a full hour long, and includes underwriting breaks.

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