New taxes ruled out as Pa. budget takes shape

    Pennsylvania’s Republican legislative leaders say no new taxes will be part of the budget they’re crafting for the fiscal year beginning Tuesday.

    The proposal is expected to include about a third of the governor’s proposed increase to education funding and rely heavily on one-time sources of revenue – a move derided by some as unsustainable.

    GOP Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said with new taxes taken off the table, an on-time budget may be within reach.

    “If the path that we’re on would end on June 30th then we would have the budget work done on Monday — if we’re successful in our work this weekend,” said Pileggi, R-Delaware, after a meeting among GOP House and Senate leaders Friday afternoon.

    The plan in the works is expected to allocate at least as much as the House-approved $29.1 billion proposal, which would increase state spending by about 2.6 percent over the current year. The House plan relied on several one-time revenue sources, as well as $380 million from the hypothetical sale of some part of the state’s liquor system.

    Senate Republicans would not go into detail about how they’ll make up for that funding, but some say the money could come from special funds outside the budget and the last scraps of tax revenue for the fiscal year.

    Earlier this week, leaders were discussing a Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction tax, as well as a higher levy on cigarettes. But Gov. Tom Corbett said he would not discuss those proposals without seeing movement on bills to change alcohol sales and overhaul future public pension benefits, both of which remain stalled.

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