Brewing Up A Budget Will State Spending Plan Pass On Time

06.06.16 | Bob Price

Workers at Little Amps Coffee Roasters in downtown Harrisburg know all about brewing coffee.

Sitting in the shadow of the State Capitol, they know a thing or two about the state budget as well.

Lawmakers and lobbyists make up a large chunk of Little Amps' clientele. No one from the Capitol is making any backroom deals over a cup of cappuccino, but budget talk is far from taboo at the coffee shop just a block away.

"I've heard people make jokes about (the budget) every now and then," employee Andy Hollinger says about some of the state's leaders who pop in from time to time.

The last few months, he says, have been quiet. There hasn't been much conversation at Little Amps about the upcoming 2016-17 budget, which, as of Thursday, is due in four weeks, June 30.

There doesn't appear to be much conversation going on inside the Capitol either. Outside of a Senate meeting on Tuesday, neither branch of the state legislature held session this week. Both the House and Senate will return to Harrisburg on Monday, June 6. However, by this time a year ago, Governor Wolf and House Republicans had already issued spending plan bills; the governor's plan was proposed to the House on May 11, followed one day later by the GOP response bill.

Bill proposals do not matter, even less than a month before a budget is due, if no one is on the same page, says Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

"You have to get to a compromise, and they have a lot of work to do in a short period of time," he says.

However, bipartisan meetings are taking place, according to Governor Wolf's office, and despite the fact no compromise bills have been issued, the tenor of the budget discussions are positive.