Pa. lawmakers prepare for weekend session after a week of little progress

     Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says budget talks are proceeding in a

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says budget talks are proceeding in a "positive and constructive" way. (AP file photo)

    Pennsylvania lawmakers are heading into a rare weekend session with virtually nothing decided about how to balance a budget that’s already 10 days overdue.

    If they don’t pass a revenue plan by Monday at midnight, the unbalanced budget becomes law automatically.

    The key point of contention has, for weeks, appeared to be whether to legalize video gambling terminals in bars.

    The House is firmly for it, but the Senate says it doesn’t have the votes to approve the plan.

    House Republican Leader Dave Reed amended his position slightly on Friday, saying his caucus might compromise on the issue if the Senate would support some degree of liquor privatization.

    Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has largely downplayed any difficulty in negotiations.

    “As I’ve said all along, we’ve had a really nice, positive, constructive tone, so we continue to negotiate, and I fully expect we’ll get to a good outcome in a few days,” he said.

    He also declined to say whether he’ll allow an unbalanced budget to become law, as he did last year, requesting that reporters “stay away from speculation.”

    Some General Assembly members have remarked on Wolf’s lack of engagement throughout negotiations.

    A spokesman for the House said lawmakers need the governor to be at the table, but that “we heard his budget speech, and we haven’t heard much since.”

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