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Gov. Rendell Blue-Lines Budget, Approves SB 850

HARRISBURG -- Gov. Rendell signed Senate Bill 850 into law today after vetoing all program funding line items except those pertaining to payroll and essential public protection. The measure creates a state budget of roughly $11 billion, and eliminates all grant funding for arts and culture in Pennsylvania.

In signing the bill, the Governor noted that, "What I am signing today is not a budget,” said Governor Rendell. “I am signing legislation that will simply allow us to pay state employees who provide for immediate critical public health and safety services, and that will send negotiators back to the table to communicate, compromise and get real about delivering a true budget agreement for Pennsylvania.”

The Governor can only approve or disapprove appropriations, and cannot legally shift or change funding within a bill. Senate Bill 850 is not a legitimate budget bill because it is not balanced, as is required by the constitution. It is at least $1.7 billion out of balance. 

“Most of all, Senate Bill 850 is not a legitimate budget because it robs Pennsylvania and its citizens of future opportunities,” said Governor Rendell. “To continue to grow and progress, as Pennsylvania has done over the last six and a half years, we must also continue to invest in our assets."

The next steps in the budget process are not yet clear, but may involve a reconvening of the conference committee later this month or in the fall.  For now, however, the budget that has been signed into law contains zero grant funding for arts and culture in Pennsylvania.  Stay tuned to philaculture.org for more information as it develops.

View the list of today's line items vetos here.