Nearly 90 days after the legal deadline, Governor Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania and legislative officials have reached a deal to balance the state budget.
Legislators announced a $27.9 billion budget agreement on September 25th, 2009 that would raise taxes on cigarettes, state businesses and legalize casino table games like blackjack at Pennsylvania casino facilities and draw from the state's rainy-day fund to solve the $3.2 billion budget deficit.
The proposal-the details of which have yet to be decided-still needs approval from the lower and upper house of the legislature. A component of the tentative agreement has already cause some controversy is a 6% sales tax on nonprofit cultural groups, levied to raise $100 million.
A statement from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance on their online stated that the additional tax is likely to have a horrible effect on cultural groups in the state, which may have been hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis. The state of Pennsylvania is currently the only state in the US without a budget, even though it was required by law to finalize a budget eighty-three days ago.
A poll made by the Franklin and Marshall College on September 3rd, 2009 found that Rendell's favorability and job performance rating are the lowest they have been since he assumed power in 2003.
According to the poll, thirty-one percent of registered voters in the state of Pennsylvania blame Gov. Rendell for the impasse on the state budget, while fifty-four percent blame the Pennsylvania legislature.
Tuesday, November 17 , 2009