House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny is staring a $4 billion budget deficit in the face, yet insists that the House can finalize a spending plan by May 31, 2011, a month before the fiscal deadline. Moreover, Turzai told the online new service Capitolwire that total spending for the 2011-12 fiscal year will hover around $26 billion, or $2 billion less than the current year.

“The way he’s looking at it is that we know it’s going to be a painful process making the cuts, but that’s simply what we have to do,” said a staffer in the Majority Leader’s office. “Why delay the inevitable.”

An early budget approval will also enable the General Assembly to work on non-budget items, including a plan to redraw the state’s congressional seats based on the 2010 Census numbers.

“The final numbers from the Census Bureau should be in by late February,” said a legislative aide working on the reapportionment process. “Once we get the budget out of the way we can work on reapportionment and have a bill ready for a vote when members return in the fall.”

The General Assembly typically breaks for the summer in early July and returns in mid-September.