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(Reuters) - Five states still face budget uncertainty nearly two weeks after the start of the July 1 fiscal year, a high number compared to years past, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) said on Wednesday.
Connecticut, Wisconsin and Rhode Island's legislatures have not yet passed a budget, while Massachusetts' budget awaits action from state Governor Charlie Baker to either sign or veto it.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf allowed a state spending plan to become law at midnight Monday by not acting on the plan for 10 days. However, lawmakers are still wrestling with filling an approximately $2 billion deficit.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy took control of state spending on June 30. Lawmakers failed to pass a budget before a July 1 deadline due to discord over how to close a $5.1 billion shortfall over the next two years. State offices are open, but funding to nonprofit social service agencies is reduced.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has until July 17 to act on a budget passed by the state's legislature July 7. The budget will immediately go into effect if the governor does not take action, said Erica MacKellar, a senior policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Lawmakers previously passed a $5.15 billion interim stopgap budget to keep the government open.
Turmoil hit Rhode Island's budget process at the last minute on June 30 when its Democratic-controlled Senate amended a $9.2 billion budget already passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives. House members refused to come back and square up the revised plan, meaning the state still has no budget. The House is still in recess. Services are not affected because Rhode Island, by law, continues to operate under the previous budget.
Wisconsin government's primary disagreement centers on transportation funding, said John Hicks, NASBO's executive director. Late budgets are not especially uncommon for Wisconsin, according to Katie Quinn, an NCSL research analyst.
Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a $32 billion state spending plan June 30 but no revenue package was agreed. Lawmakers are still debating how to close a $2 billion budget gap.
Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Hilary Russ; Editing by Daniel Bases and Tom Brown