Pennsylvania Budget Deal Ends Worker Furloughs

Legislators reached a deal in the state budget impasse Monday night that would end the government employee furloughs, Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, said.

Scores of state parks, state-run museums and driver-license offices around the state were shuttered Monday after Gov. Ed Rendell took the unprecedented action of furloughing nearly 24,000 state employees without pay because of a partisan deadlock that held up a state budget nine days into the new fiscal year.

The deal would address some of Rendell's health care and energy initiatives but would not impose the surcharge on electric rates the governor had sought, said Fumo, ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.

"I rate it good," he said. "It's a win-win for everybody."

Rendell declined comment in advance of a scheduled news conference.

"See you at 11, that's all I can say," he said outside his Capitol office.

Fumo said the budget total was about $27.3 billion, close to what Democrats had proposed.

Republicans won an increase in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit that fosters school choice and the rolling of $300 million of the surplus into next year's spending, Fumo said. Rendell got a film industry tax credit capped at $75 million.

Many details remained unclear, including whether the billions for highways and transit would count against the spending increase and whether it will reach the $1 billion in the first year that Rendell had demanded.

Multiple sources said the Legislature would convene a special session this fall to address the energy topic, and that consideration of the $500 million Jonas Salk Legacy Fund would occur in November.