Wolf said he believes leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities are on board with getting a deal done and signed by October 1, before Pennsylvania's battered credit rating gets another downgrade and he must delay more payments for lack of cash.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday said he was optimistic the Republican-controlled Legislature can produce a deal to patch a projected $2.2 billion budget gap in the coming days and end a almost three-month stalemate.
"The downgrade largely reflects the commonwealth's chronic structural imbalance dating back almost a decade, a history of late budget adoption, and our opinion that this pattern could continue", said S&P analyst Carol Spain in a press release.
"Pennsylvanians are paying taxes and it is very disappointing commonwealth budget costs will increase thanks to a small group of unknown people at Standard & Poor's who make decisions based on interviews with a governor and press releases from the state's fiscal officers", Republican leaders said in a joint statement. The outlook is stable. And then, the House passed a plan that not only raided special funds, but included other phantom revenues from liquor and gaming legislation that has not been, and most likely will not be enacted, phantom revenues from unspecified lapsed funds, and phantom revenues from a proposal that was rejected by the courts past year. But lawmakers have not yet agreed on how to pay for the budget and debt. The action caused a lot of dramatic words from state leaders and many calls to settle the budget, but no signs of compromise. "I have said repeatedly for three years that we must responsibly fund the budget with recurring revenues".
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On September 15, Pennsylvania missed $1.167 billion in reimbursement payments for Medicaid, and on September 18, it missed a $581.0-million payment to school districts to cover its share of pension obligations. "We would be using a significant amount of one-time funds to balance a 2.2 billion dollar hole".
The House rejected any sort of tax increase when it passed its plan.
"If an agreement has not progressed by next week", the governor's statement said, "I will be forced to take further steps to manage this situation". "We agree with S&P's concerns about the need for stability in our financial plans to address the ongoing structural deficit".
"Unfortunately for the citizens of the state, the sword has fallen today and we will all pay the price for the fundamentally irresponsible and dishonest approach to state budgeting taken by Speaker Turzai and his followers".