Pa. budget takes one step forward

    With about a week left before Pennsylvania’s budget deadline, House lawmakers have advanced an actual spending plan.

    A key panel has voted to send a proposal to the full chamber, but it’s likely to undergo some big changes before heading to the governor.

    One of the big eyebrow-raisers in the proposed $29.1 billion spending plan is an assumption that the state will start making millions of dollars by phasing out its state liquor stores.

    But the Senate has failed to pass that very plan for a year.

    So, it was with a characteristic grin that Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph said Tuesday that the proposal does not reflect an agreement between the House and Senate.

    “The Senate can always amend this bill if they have the revenue sources other than this,” he said.

    Some are expecting heavy revisions from the Senate – such as a tax on the extraction of natural gas or other levies.

    Gov. Tom Corbett has said he will not discuss tax increases until lawmakers pass his other priorities.

    But since receiving that ultimatum a week ago, neither the House nor Senate has voted on plans to liberalize the sale of wine and beer or scale back pension benefits for future state and public school employees.


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