Lawmakers aim to reach budget deadline

    Any hope for an on-time state budget has all but vanished in Harrisburg. Lawmakers say they’d consider passing an emergency short term budget if negotiations drag deep into the summer.

    Any hope for an on-time state budget has all but vanished in Harrisburg. Lawmakers say they’d consider passing an emergency short term budget if negotiations drag deep into the summer.

    Listen:

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    With top Democrats calling for an income tax hike and Republicans vowing to shoot down any revenue increase, August 1st is beginning to sound like an optimistic prediction for when lawmakers will reach a spending agreement.

    Governor Rendell says he’s committed to working around the clock to strike a deal, but insists new taxes will have to be part of the final arrangement.

    Rendell says he’d consider a stopgap budget if negotiations run too long, and state workers start missing paychecks.

    House Minority Leader Sam Smith says he’s open to a temporary spending plan.

    “They’re passing just a short-term budget that kind, just the basics that everybody agrees are critical functions. And that keeps the general services of government running.

    A stopgap budget hasn’t been used in Harrisburg for decades, and Smith says it’s unlikely lawmakers will have to draft one this year.

    Democrats and Republicans remain about two billion dollars apart on spending plans

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