PA State lawmakers remain far apart on budget agreement

    With a month to go before Pennsylvania’s budget deadline, both parties in Harrisburg appear firmly entrenched.

    That’s leading Capitol observers to ask what happened to talk about an early agreement.

    With a month to go before Pennsylvania’s budget deadline, both parties in Harrisburg appear firmly entrenched.

    That’s leading Capitol observers to ask what happened to talk about an early agreement.

    Governor Rendell and lawmakers from both parties spent much of winter and spring voicing hope the budget could be passed early this year.

    But as June begins, Republicans are insisting Rendell’s plan has too many tax increases, while Democrats say the budget passed by the GOP-controlled Senate is filled with draconian cuts.

    Activist Tim Potts of Democracy Rising Pennsylvania  says even though House Democratic leaders aren’t seriously considering the Senate budget, it’s a good indicator of where Republicans stand.

    He says he’s hoping that can help both sides begin a serious conversation.

    Potts: Have a series of public discussions among all of the parties on the areas of disagreement. Why do you want to cut this? Why do you want to increase that? How do you want to pay for it? What we’re going through now is not particularly helpful, because it’s all posturing.

    Potts says he doubts a budget can be passed before mid-August.

    Governor Rendell is expected to announce more cuts to his proposed 29 billion dollar spending plan soon.

    But unless he trims a billion and a half dollars from his budget, he and Senate Republican leaders are still far apart on proposed cuts and possible tax increases.

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