HARRISBURG, Pa. – (Associated Press) - For the second straight year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will let a state budget bill become law despite the fact that it is badly out of balance.
Wolf's office released his decision in a statement Monday, hours before the nearly $32 billion spending bill was to become law without his signature at midnight.
"I am going to let this general appropriations bill become law without my signature in the hope that we can continue to work together on a sustainable budget solution that sets Pennsylvania on the right path," Wolf said.
The Democrat is pressing Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature to approve a tax package big enough to avoid a credit downgrade. Democratic lawmakers said Wolf wants $700 million to $800 million in reliable revenue to avoid another downgrade.
"Just last week, we received a warning that if we did not do the hard work to balance our budget, Pennsylvania's credit would be downgraded," Wolf said. "This independent call to action made it clear we must avoid gimmicks to protect from a downgrade, as we have been able to do since I took office."
Leaders of the state's Republican-controlled Legislature said they're unwilling to approve a tax package as big as Wolf wants.
Lawmakers said $2.2 billion in new revenue is required to wipe out a deficit, but it will rely primarily on borrowing and involves another big expansion of casino gambling.
There are questions about the constitutionality of a budget bill becoming law without a plan in place to pay for it.
Monday was the 10th day of a budget stalemate between Wolf and the House and Senate Republican majorities.