Pa. lawmakers hope to finalize budget on time

    The deadline is June 30th. Last year, it took until September to agree on a spending plan.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers are hoping to do something they haven’t done in a long time: pass a budget on time.

    The deadline is June 30th. Last year, it took until September to agree on a spending plan.

    But threatening to prolong the process is another major budget gap.

    The state is facing a $1 billion revenue gap, and Senate Republicans say they want Governor Rendell to revise the $29 billion spending plan he submitted in February.

    GOP leaders say the state needs to trim spending.

    Rendell agrees, but says targeted taxes on items like cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco need to be part of the final equation, as well.

    Rendell has dropped his idea for a broadened sales tax, which he spent much of the spring promoting during appearances across the state.

    “It’s just very complex,” says Rendell, “and you’d be stepping on the toes of a lot of special interests, and I don’t think there’s an appetite to do that this year. My guess is that whoever’s governor may have to visit that next year. But we’ll see.”

    The House has passed a spending package, and is set to vote on a revenue bill in early June.

    Senate leaders say they’re waiting to see how May revenue figures impact the deficit, but that they plan on passing their own budget bills within the next few weeks.

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