What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, June 22, 2018:
In a departure from about ten years of unhappy tradition, Pennsylvania lawmakers are on the brink of passing a budget before the June 30th deadline.
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.
The new money largely goes toward pension and healthcare obligations, plus a bump in education spending, including a new $60 million fund for school safety.
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.
Chris Comisac and Marc Levy
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.