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    Corbett willing to negotiate on Pa. Senate plan to spend more on higher ed

    A day after Pennsylvania’s Senate began advancing its own budget plan, Gov. Tom Corbett said he’s treating the chamber’s proposal as a ceiling in upcoming negotiations.

    The Senate proposal calls for spending roughly $500 million more than the governor has proposed — an increase of about 2 percent over last year.

    Corbett said Wednesday he hasn’t taken a close look yet at the Senate’s offering.

    “I know where their number is. I would consider that to be a ceiling,” the governor said. “And you know, these are negotiations, and negotiations have two ends, and we’ll work toward something in between.”

    Corbett isn’t saying yet which of his proposed cuts he’d consider restoring if the state’s tax revenues continue to exceed expectations, as they did last month.

    The Senate bill would restore all higher education funding to current levels, except for a college grant program. The proposal also cuts the governor’s proposed reductions to social services programs in half, and slates additional money for public schools.

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