Budget Deal Reached

While taxpayers and state workers slept, lawmakers shook hands on a budget deal. John Micek has some of the details, as does the Patriot News.

  • General Fund budget: $28 billion +/- $500 million, few details on specific programs
  • Reported General Fund increase of 3.8% (but we’re not sure over what, as budget secretary Michael Masch wrote in a email to Capitolwire: “There are additional adjustments to the 2007-08 spending numbers as well as adjustments to the 2008-09 numbers, as a result of additional supplementals we will be making to reduce the 2007-08 authorized expenditure number. We have some work to do making all the final adjustments and creating nice clean financial statements which we will be working on later today.”) – higher than the Taxpayer Protection Act limit.
  • Rendell reports $500 million in “cuts” from his budget, though apparently replaced by $450 million in additions.
  • Energy pork: $500 million bond issue
  • Capital Budget: Bonding for $365 million bridges, rail, and airports. $800 million RCAP (i.e. soccer stadiums and other corporate welfare). $850 million for water and sewer projects. There will also be another $400 million bond issue put on the November ballot. That sums to over $2.4 billion. Add in the energy borrowing, and the total comes to $2.9 billion in new debt.
  • No dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.  (EDIT: The plan involves not depositing the statutory requirement of 10% of the surplus into the Rainy Day, which is in effect dipping into the fund for about $12-15 million.  Under law, this would require a 2/3 vote to do, but of course, new law supersedes old law, so they may just circumvent a vote on that).