(Jan 3) Legislators pass budgets more swiftly if there’s fallout, review finds

By Natasha Lindstrom
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pennsylvania has virtually no consequences when lawmakers fail to pass a budget on time — a dynamic that is unusual among the 50 states, a national review of state budget rules shows.

Six months into what has become the state’s longest budget stalemate in at least 40 years, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership decided to examine consequences for late budgets elsewhere.

In Ohio, all facets of government shut down if the Legislature ends its session without at least agreeing to an interim budget by the deadline, the nonprofit advocacy group found.

In Virginia, the governor presents a budget proposal in December, and the part-time Legislature cannot adjourn until it agrees to a budget, which typically gets enacted by the end of February.

California has contemplated removing its governor and lawmakers from office if they breach their June 30 deadline. Its constitution prohibits lawmakers from drawing any travel or living expenses until a budget gets enacted.

The 2015-16 budget for Pennsylvania is 188 days late. Gov. Tom Wolf signed a partial spending plan last week, using line-item vetoes to allow the state to send money to schools and contracted human-service providers for the first time in six months.

Full story: Legislators pass budgets more swiftly if there’s fallout, review finds, by Natasha Lindstrom, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 01/03/16

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