Nearly three months after the legal deadline, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and legislative leaders have reached an agreement to balance the budget.
Lawmakers announced a $27.9-billion deal on Friday night that would raise taxes on cigarettes and businesses, legalize table games such as blackjack, craps, roulette and poker at casinos and draw from the state's rainy-day fund to close the $3.2-billion revenue shortfall.
The proposal - the details of which have yet to be hammered out - still requires approval from both houses of the legislature.
A component of the tentative deal that has already caused some controversy is a 6-percent sales tax on nonprofit cultural organizations, levied to raise $100 million.
"The tax is likely to have a devastating effect on cultural organizations, many of which have been hit hard by the recession," said a statement on the website of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
Pennsylvania is currently the only state in the nation without a budget, even though it was required by law to do so 83 days ago.
A Franklin & Marshall College Poll released Sept. 3 found that Rendell's favorability and job performance ratings are the lowest they have been since he took office in 2003.
According to the survey, 31 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania blame the governor for the budget impasse, while 54 percent blame the state legislature.Comments powered by Disqus
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