With the end of the fiscal year looming, the Pennsylvania Senate on Friday afternoon passed a $27.7 billion budget by a 32-to-17 vote.
Gov. Tom Corbett, who a week earlier reached a compromise with legislative leaders, is expected to sign it.
The state’s 2013 fiscal year begins Sunday.
The Pennsylvania House on Thursday passed the spending plan by a 120-to-81 vote, mostly along party lines. Republicans control both chambers and the governor’s office.
Spending would rise by 1.5%, primarily to cover the increasing cost of health care and public-employee pensions. It also provides tax cuts for new businesses.
Also pending the Senate is a bill by Rep. Mike Turzai, D-Bradford Woods, to overhaul the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which provides a list of private or public economic development or infrastructure projects, funded by debt, from which the governor can select recipients of the borrowed money.
His bill, which passed the House by a 184-to-9 vote, would curtail debt for RACP projects and enhance transparency. It calls for reducing the program’s debt ceiling initially to $3.5 billion and then incrementally until it reaches $1.5 billion.
“Not all debt is bad, but the time has come to end funding political pet projects through borrowed money,” Turzai said.
Earlier last week, a report by state auditor general Jack Wagner said the government could not verify whether state money paid to local redevelopment authorities under the RACP — $1.5 billion from mid-2005 to mid-2011 — helped generate jobs or other touted benefits.
Moody’s Investors Service rates Pennsylvania’s general obligation bonds Aa1, while Fitch Ratings assigns an equivalent AA-plus. Standard & Poor’s rates them AA.