HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The state Senate approved key spending and tax bills Tuesday in an effort to pressure the House to go along with the latest effort to end Pennsylvania's long budget stalemate.
The $27.8 billion spending plan passed with overwhelming support shortly after Gov. Ed Rendell met with top lawmakers in an effort to close out remaining differences in the politically divided Legislature.
"Certainly it's ultimately a compromise, and when you have a compromise, of course there are things that you like and things you don't like," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre. "But it does meet the needs of Pennsylvania and it does make an historic ... contribution to and investment in education."
Overall, the budget would cut spending by more than 1 percent from last year but boost instruction and operations of public schools by $300 million, or 5.7 percent, a provision Rendell insisted on.