Pa. budget stalemate hits 100th day

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - October 8, 2009 The Keystone State is the only state in the nation without a budget and on Thursday, several demonstrators took to the streets of Center City Philadelphia to say enough is enough.

More than 70 non-profits and social service providers held their midday rally to mark the 100 day landmark of the Harrisburg spending stalemate. All have tales of woe brought on by the holdup in their state funding. Their message is to settle it now for the sake of so many in need and they note that in just 157 more days, it'll be time to start work on next year's budget.

Many agencies are now months behind on paying their staff and vendors and the frustration is growing.

Take for example the Calcutta House. It is a North Philly agency that provides vaccine for HIV-AIDS victims. They've had a bumpy ride trying to maintain their supplies; they're now functioning on a tenuous slender thread with their vendor.

The small but spirited rally went forward today as word circulated once again that a budget deal may be near in Harrisburg..

That has been heard many times before, as the situation grows ever more desperate for those who operate the social safety net and those who cling to it.

The Senate's voting session Thursday could include a vote on the $27.8 billion appropriations bill that came over from the House.

However, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says the chamber must first look at the changes made by the House before taking action.

In addition, the Senate may advance a bill to legalize and tax table games at the state's slot-machine casinos.

Legalizing table games is a key element of lawmakers' efforts to find new tax revenue to offset the state government's huge, recession-driven revenue shortfall.

Significant differences remain with the House over details of that bill.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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