Gov. Rendell signs state budget

July 4, 2008 6:18:46 PM PDT
A visibly pleased Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law a new state budget that boosts education spending and borrows for energy, infrastructure and economic development projects. The measure easily passed the state Legislature on Friday. The governor called it "a great budget." He said "We did an awful lot in this session, an awful lot that will improve the lives of ordinary Pennsylvanians."

The 2008-09 state budget, and a flurry of other legislation, was approved four days into the state government's new fiscal year.

The nearly $28.3 billion in spending represents an increase of about $1 billion over the just-ended fiscal year, with more than 90 percent of that increase going to education and social services.

Public schools will get an unprecedented $274 million increase, or 5.5 percent, for operations and instruction. An additional $65 million, up 40 percent, will go to charter schools.

Some House Republicans, however, said it would saddle the state with unsustainable debt and doled out the education dollars inequitably.