Pennsylvania Senate meets to hash out remaining budget items

In Harrisburg Wednesday, the State Senate met to hash out outstanding budget items.

Senators met to vote on a “fiscal code” or in this case, two “fiscal codes” that would decide where the money allocated in the budget would be spent.

A number of items were discussed, but what wasn’t in the legislation was a program meant to help the state’s poorest schools.

The “Level Up” program is a $100 million item that provides money to the 100 poorest schools in Pennsylvania. Instead, lawmakers included a voucher program, also costing $100 million. That program had previously been vetoed by Governor Shapiro.

“It’s “Level Up” versus “Lifeline.” At the end of the day, that’s the rub. We’ve got to work through those two things,” State Senator Jay Costa said. He’s a Democrat representing Allegheny County.

Republicans have pushed for a voucher program.

“That was one of the things we negotiated with Governor Shapiro, then he took out our priority. The House can send us back a bill that has “Level Up” in it,” Westmoreland County senator Kim Ward said.

Both fiscal codes were passed. One was expected to have more bipartisan support than it ended up receiving. The second, dealing with vouchers, passed along party lines. Republicans have a majority and didn’t need Democrat support.

Something both parties agree on is moving the Primary Election Date. The Senate is proposing moving it to March 19.

Both codes now go to the House. It’s unclear what’ll happen since neither party has a majority.

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