HARRISBURG – PA Senate Republicans advanced a budget proposal ahead of the July 1st start of a new fiscal year, but they lack agreement with the Democrat-controlled House. Without new spending authority in place, the state will start being legally barred from making some payments. The legislation unveiled and passed Friday envisions a $45 billion spending plan, a 5% increase from the last approved budget. The spending figure is slightly lower than what Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed and about $1.7 billion less than what the House passed. A main sticking point is a $100 million PA Award for Student Success Initiative to pay for children to attend the school of their choice under a new program backed by Republican lawmakers and Gov. Shapiro, but opposed by Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Judy Ward said they worked closely with the governor in crafting a good budget for PA.Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Sen. Scott Martin said the negotiated budget plan would benefit all Pennsylvanians with depleting the state’s surplus. In a budget stalemate, the state is still legally bound to make debt payments, cover Medicaid costs for millions of Pennsylvanians, issue unemployment compensation payments, keep prisons open and ensure state police are on patrol. A Treasury Department spokesperson said for now, the state’s main bank account is flush with roughly $15 billion and can make its legally required payments.