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Rendell sets new budget Pa. deadline

September 28, 2009 12:54:22 PM PDT
State budget negotiators continued haggling over the fine points Monday, 10 days after Gov. Ed Rendell and top-ranking lawmakers trumpeted a breakthrough agreement they said would end the state's three-month-old budget impasse. Rendell said leaders of three of the Legislature's four caucuses agreed during a meeting Monday to aim at getting the bills that make up the annual spending plan to his desk on Sunday.

He also urged the General Assembly to convene and stay in session until the plan is passed and signed into law.

"I'm not satisfied with the pace of where we are, and neither are they," Rendell told reporters.

The Democratic governor said he was not worried that the handshake deal was falling apart in the face of opposition to some of its elements, including drilling for gas on state land and taxing small games of chance.

"There's always opposition to certain parts of the budget," he said.

Rendell had said Sept. 18 that he would disclose details after rank-and-file lawmakers were briefed on the deal, but Monday he said the spending cuts remained somewhat up in the air.

Rendell said he urged House and Senate Democrats and Senate Republican leaders to wrap things up by Sunday. That would require them to resolve elements still in dispute and then get the budget bills through the divided Legislature.

"They agreed they would work toward that goal, and they agreed that goal was achievable," Rendell said.

House Republicans, who oppose the size of the budget plan and its new taxes, said they were not invited to the meeting.

Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi planned a news conference later Monday.

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