State budget battle lines not as deep as many years
The battle lines have been drawn for the serious stage of state budget talks, though the impasse is not as deep as it is most years.
The House Appropriations Committee this week approved a $28.3 billion state budget plan. The Republican majority panel’s plan closely mirrors Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal.
Senate Democrats advanced a $28.5 billion plan that includes about $220 million more for public schools than the Republican plan, about twice what the GOP is considering.
The Democrat plan includes enhancements to increase sales in the state-controlled wine and liquor stores.
Regarding the education funding, there’s probably room for compromise. But keep in mind Pennsylvania spends more per student than most states.
Regarding the wine and liquor store enhancements, those energies would be better spent privatizing the state liquor store system.
Foes of privatization have yet to explain why 48 of 50 states have found that approach to be the one to take regarding liquor and wine sales and we are pretty confident they won’t be able to come up with an adequate rationale in the future.
In the big picture, there have been plenty of budget impasses larger than this one in early June.
There’s no reason to think there can’t be compromises on most issues and a no-tax-hike budget plan by the June 30 deadline.