Pa. Senate poised to advance nearly $28.4B budget

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The state Senate is poised to advance a spending plan of nearly $28.4 billion for the new fiscal year, including an extra $122 million for public schools.

The details emerged Saturday evening as lawmakers hold unusual weekend voting sessions to try to complete an on-time budget before leaving Harrisburg for the summer. It passed the Approrpiations Committee on a party-line vote and is expected to come up for a full Senate and House vote on Sunday, the last day of the fiscal year.

The plan would increase core state spending by $719 million, or 2.6 percent, over the current fiscal year’s approved budget. Pensions and health care for the poor also received substantial increases.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman characterized the plan as a final agreement. It’s $65 million less than what Gov. Tom Corbett proposed in February, but it projects substantially lower retirement and pension costs than his plan.

Democrats want to free up even more money for schools by delaying business tax cuts.

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