The long-running budget stalemate in Pennsylvania ended Wednesday, meaning Illinois is now the sole U.S. state operating without a fiscal year 2016 spending plan.
Pennsylvania's nearly nine-month-old stalemate ended after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf agreed Wednesday to let a Republican spending plan take effect Sunday without his signature. Wolf initially threatened to veto the budget measure, which includes no new taxes.
"I am going to allow the 2015-2016 budget to become law without my signature," Wolf said in a statement. "This will allow for funding to go out to schools and other services in the short term, but we still face enormous problems that this budget does not even pretend to address.
"Let's be clear: the math in this budget does not work. Next fiscal year - that already has a $2 billion deficit - will now begin with an extra $300 million deficit. Ratings agencies and the Independent Fiscal Office have all agreed that we face a massive structural deficit. Left unaddressed, the deficit will force cuts to schools and human services, devastating credit downgrades that will cost taxpayers millions, and increase property taxes for our senior citizens. We must face this reality this year and balance our budget with real, sustainable revenues."
The developments out of Pennsylvania mean Illinois is now the last state that is weathering a budget stalemate.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders have been feuding for nearly nine months over a spending plan that should have taken effect July 1. At the center of the impasse is Rauner's anti-union, pro-business policy agenda, which he wants tied to the budgeting process.