Pa. starts seventh week without a budget

     Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a news conference, Tuesday in Norristown. Pennsylvania is a month and a half into its new fiscal year without a state budget. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a news conference, Tuesday in Norristown. Pennsylvania is a month and a half into its new fiscal year without a state budget. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    The engineers of the Pennsylvania budget impasse will sit down for another design meeting Wednesday afternoon.

    The new fiscal year began July 1. Negotiations between the governor and top lawmakers have been held about once a week since then.

    “We had productive discussion,” said House Speaker Mike Turzai after a budget confab last month. “We really rolled up our sleeves.”

    Despite all the purported progress, there’s been no breakthrough on any of the issues that continue to divide the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature. They remain far apart in their views on taxes, education funding, public pension changes, and the fate of the state liquor system.

    Republicans passed a spending plan at the end of June. Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed it, saying it wasn’t balanced.

    State employees are still being paid in spite of the impasse, but the commonwealth has lost the authority to pay most contractors. Local government agencies and nonprofits that provide social services have said the situation is forcing them to borrow money or curb programs beginning this month.

    Schools without much money in reserve could face problems in September if they go without their expected state subsidy in August.

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