But will the call on the field stand?
While the House put the final touches on the FY 2023-24 state fiscal year budget late last night, the proposed $45.5 billion spending plan’s final resolution remains in the air. To use a baseball sports analogy, the House scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 9th inning, but the play is under video review.
While this bill (House Bill 611) passed the Senate and House with majority votes, it remains in limbo as it needs some signatures before being finalized and sent to Governor Shapiro. The House is scheduled to do its part today, but the Senate isn’t scheduled to return to Harrisburg until September 18 (although it could return sooner if need be). However, will the Senate return to do that? We shall see.
The issue is that the Senate Republicans adopted a version after negotiating and making a deal with the governor on a $100 million school voucher program. However, this program was not popular with many House Democrats. To garner support for the budget in the House, Shapiro announced he was dropping his support for the school voucher deal he struck with the Senate. That move enabled House Democrats to support the budget, which they did so via a 117 to 86 vote.
Senate Republicans are outraged and accusing Shapiro of reneging on his deal. Many speculate that the Senate will hold up other budget-related bills necessary to implement the state budget. Such bills that may be potentially put on hold would be the state Fiscal Code bill.
Where does transportation funding fit into all of this?
The current state budget bill contains a $125 million appropriation in State Police funding from the Motor License Fund, thanks in large part to the continued advocacy efforts of our industry members. However, implementing language and the five-year phase-down provisions would be part of the Fiscal Code bill that is currently being delayed.
The stalemate between Senate Republicans and Governor Shapiro could extend deep into the summer months. The impasse may delay any phase-down of State Police funding from the Motor License Fund. APC will keep you updated as the drama unfolds and “if the call on the field stands after instant replay review.”