by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 23 May 2007) - This year's state budget process won't include the assembly of a document commonly known at the Capitol as the "fake budget."
Usually, time is reserved for amending the budget bill in the House - giving lawmakers a chance to add pet projects to the plan so they could say they voted for them. Few of these items make the final blueprint.
But Democrats, who control the House for the first time in a decade, announced they would skip the process.
On the floor, Appropriations chair Dwight Evans assured the rank and file that their voices would be heard.
"I will not, from my particular position as chairman of this committee, ignore any thoughts and ideas that you have. We'll have full discussion. But we need to move this process along," Evans said.
The chamber debated only one amendment - a catch-all Republican revision that would have curtailed spending in several areas. It was defeated.
The budget deadline is June 30 but has been missed every year under Governor Rendell.