A Bucks County state senator on Monday cast the lone GOP vote on the $29.1 billion budget approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, who represents District 10, said in a statement he objected the amount of money allocated in the budget from leasing state forest lands for gas drilling, known as fracking.
“A number of environmental groups have expressed serious concerns regarding the impact of opening more state lands to fracking, and sportsmen's groups have voiced fears of the effect the additional drilling activity could have on our delicate ecosystems and wildlife. Given the gravity of these issues, I could not in good conscience support the spending plan in its current form,” McIlhinney said in a statement.
The budget squeaked by in a 26-24 vote late Monday.
Governor Tom Corbett made a statement shortly after the vote indicating he does not plan to sign the budget document as is.
“It leaves pensions, one of the largest expenses to the commonwealth and our school districts, on the table, leaving the weight on Pennsylvania taxpayers and perpetuating the tug of war over state funding every single year," Corbett said in a statement released shortly before midnight.
Corbett offered no timeline for when he would be signing the budget.
“I will continue to work with the legislature toward meaningful pension reform. I am withholding signing the budget passed by the General Assembly while I deliberate its impact on the people of Pennsylvania,” the governor said.
McIlhenny's district includes Buckingham, Doylestown, Falls, Lower Makefield, New Britain, Newtown,Upper Makefield, Yardley and other municipalities. Click here to view the district map.