On Wednesday, American Democrat Governor Josh Shapiro backed down from his demand for funds for a new private-school funding program, which had become a stumbling block in the state’s budget impasse.
The state government is currently operating on day five without full spending power as Shapiro reversed course as the Democratically controlled House of Representatives prepared to reply to a budget deal between Shapiro and the Republican-controlled state Senate.
Controversy Surrounding Education Funding
Education funding was at the center of the impasse in the ideologically divided Legislature, with Shapiro’s backing for a new $100 million program to pay for tuition at private and religious schools being a major sticking point.
A vote on the Senate Republicans’ primary budget package was still feasible as of Wednesday night when the House reconvened. The unexpected outcome has shocked several Republicans.
Separate legislation may be required to spend the money on other topics that Shapiro wanted to be included in the budget measure and which Senate Republicans agreed to in exchange for the private school’s program.
Raising Funds for Religious and Private Schools
During discussions, Republican senators found support from Shapiro after advocating for a $100 million scheme to fund private and religious schools.
However, Shapiro’s persistence in including the program in the budget caused intraparty animosity with his fellow Democrats and threw a late curveball into budget deliberations.
GOP insiders say they worked closely with Shapiro on a budget plan and ultimately included hundreds of millions of dollars in spending that Shapiro wanted to use as bargaining chips with the Democrats in the House.
Total spending would be lower than Shapiro’s March request and the House of Representatives early June authorization under Democratic leadership by about $1.7 billion. It also underfunds public schools.
The plan balances with $1 billion from reserves, leaving $13 billion, and doesn’t hike sales or income taxes, the state’s two biggest revenue streams.
Source: YAHOO NEWS