The budget in question is known in the Capitol simply as Senate Bill 850. It is the $27.3 billion spending plan introduced months ago by Republicans who control the Senate, and contains painful cuts to state spending but no tax increases.Been there, done that, getting ready to do it again. Good luck Ed - you're going to need it.
Democrats, including those who control the House, have made no secret of their opposition to it and have said over and over that it would translate into damaging cuts to social, educational, and economic-development programs.
And even now that the House is set to vote on it, those same Democrats still say they could not support it.
Democratic leaders say they back Rendell's almost $29 billion budget plan that proposes a mixture of spending cuts and increased taxes, including a temporary 16 percent increase in the state's personal-income tax.
Yet Republicans have taken a staunch antitax stance - and have not budged from it. Complicating matters: Some rank-and-file Democrats won't vote for a higher personal-income tax, either. And the state is now almost two weeks past the July 1 deadline to enact a spending plan for the fiscal year, with not even a pretense of a resolution in sight. Most state workers will soon be expected to work without pay, and vendors could also stop receiving payments from the state.
So late last week, after a flurry of urgent, backdoor meetings, Democratic leaders decided to allow a vote on Senate Bill 850, if only to gain a platform from which to argue how catastrophic its cuts would be.
So will we.