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Pa. Senate leaders aim to override funding veto

August 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Senate leaders plan to take steps Wednesday that could override Gov. Ed Rendell's veto of funding for human services programs, such as shelters, food pantries and child care.

State Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, told The Herald-Mail of the plans Monday afternoon. They are designed to help "some of the most vulnerable among us," he said.

Rendell, a Democrat, took a stopgap budget measure passed in early August and provided many line-item vetoes, as expected. The intent was to pay nearly 77,000 state workers and sustain government operations during the now six-week-old budget impasse.

However, the governor has been criticized for vetoing funding that would have gone to human-services providers, many of whom say they are faced with shutting down. Some staged a rally Monday on the Capitol steps.

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When visiting Franklin County last week, Rendell told reporters that the agencies might be suffering temporary pain, but he's committed to better funding in a full budget.

"The governor put us in this spot," Alloway said.

A measure to override the governor's vetoes would have to pass with a two-thirds majority vote in both the Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled House.

State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, said that he had not heard of the plans outlined by Alloway. However, he said some legislators have talked about making a similar attempt to resume funding for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which provides financial aid for higher education.

Also, House Republicans might offer a new amendment next week in hopes of using it as a full 2009-10 budget, Rock said.

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