Pa. Senate hits restart on budget negotiations

Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre. (AP file photo)

Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre. (AP file photo)

The GOP-controlled Pennsylvania Senate has formally rejected a conservative budget plan passed by the House — essentially resetting negotiations nearly three months past the deadline.

Now, Republicans in the House and Senate will attempt to work with Gov. Tom Wolf to figure out a compromise.

Wolf has said he wants to get the budget finished by Oct. 1.

But the general consensus from the House and Senate has been that that’s a stretch.

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Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said inter-chamber negotiations are starting this week — and will probably last through next week.

“It’ll be hard, I’ll be honest with you,” he told reporters. “We’re going to be here. We’re going to go on recess with a six-hour call today, but I’ll be here, and staff will be here, and hopefully we’ll get a resolution. Whether it’s by Oct. 1, I don’t know.”

House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin confirmed the chamber isn’t expecting any votes next week, but he said lawmakers hope to have a plan put together the week after.

What that plan will look like is unclear.

Senate Republican leaders and Wolf maintain they’re uncomfortable with any budget that doesn’t have recurring revenue, such as the one the House proposed that aimed to fill much of the gap with fund transfers.

“We would still end up with a deficit at the end of the year,” Corman said. “We would be using a significant amount of one-time funds to balance a $2.2 billion hole.”

Miskin said the House agrees there’s a fiscal problem, but members still don’t support tax increases.

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