Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell announced late Saturday that the government would be partially shut down amid recent budget negotiations that have resulted in a stalemate. Although there will be 52,000 government workers on-the-job today, 24,000 workers were furloughed (without pay).

Many non-essential government services were shut down Monday; state-run museums and parks were closed, driver’s license tests were temporarily postponed, and many maintenance programs (such as highway maintenance) are either closed or have been reduced in size. The governor even had the lights illuminating the state Capitol building turned off.

State-run casinos, however, did remain open for business, thanks to a late-night request granted by a Pennsylvania judge that allowed the casinos to remain open until Tuesday morning, when another hearing is set to be held. Emergency services, such as fire, police, medical, and correctional services, will remain active. All other non-essential/non-emergency state-run programs were put on hold.

Many Republicans are furious about the governor’s decision and believe that a budget agreement should have been reached by now, citing the state’s $650 million surplus. The main opposition to the Republican’s budget plan comes from the governor, who wants to give more funding to alternative energy programs.

Budget negotiations are set to resume today. Governor Rendell “[hopes] that this will be a one-day furlough”, and lawmakers in Pennsylvania are doing everything they can to get the 24,000 furloughed workers back into their offices.


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