Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell late Sunday ordered a range of state government services shut down and placed about a third of the state workforce on indefinite unpaid furlough after frantic last-minute negotiations failed to break a budget stalemate.
Rendell, appearing outside his Capitol office, said the shutdown would go forward but he and legislators will continue to work toward a deal.
“Let me say to our hard-working and dedicated state employees, we worked as hard as we could today,” Rendell told a news conference. But, he said, negotiations and serious consideration of his priorities, which he maintains must be passed along with a state spending plan, began too late.
“We didn’t start early enough,” Rendell said. “I think everybody was at fault.”
Pennsylvanians will be unable to take driver’s license tests and state-run museums will be shuttered. Most of the employes of the state insurance department are among those furloughed. Highway maintenance and a range of permitting and licensing functions will be stopped or severely curtailed, and the lights illuminating the Capitol’s dome were turned off.