Surprise, surprise, suuuurrrprise. Luzerne County residents have to cough up $60,000.00 per day to repay its debt which is $466 million. The Times Leader has a great graphic by Gary Visgaitis showing the budget cuts and increases by department. In it is the staggering figure that over $21 million is budgeted for debt service. The article crtiques the current budget and the process to follow.
Department heads really don't know how much money they have to spend because the Commissioners have until February 15 to revise their spending plan. Commissioner Maryann Petrilla is following her mentor, Todd Eachus, in not having a concrete spending plan. Table games in Harrisburg are going back to the Senate to hammer out a compromise according to Andrew Seder at the TL.
The two chambers have appointed three members each to a House-Senate conference committee. In the House, Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, Dante Santori, D-Reading, and Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester are on the committee. The Senate tabbed Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester, Sen. Jane Earll, R-Erie, and Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Pittsburgh, to serve on the committee.
The committee will meet at 4 to begin hammering out a compromise deal. Once that's released the two chambers would need to adopt that plan. The Senate could do it tonight. The House, following its own rules, can not vote until 24 hours after the report is received.
Terms of the leaders’ deal haven’t been disclosed publicly.
The two chambers were pressured by Gov. Ed Rendell to get him a final bill by the end of Friday or else he's threatened to lay off nearly 1,000 state workers. Revenue from table games was included in the 2009-10 state budget.
There has been a persistent rumor that once the table games legislation is worked out AG Corbett may have a present for Eachus. Again, a rumor but a really rampant one resonating out of Harrisburg.