Pennsylvania lawmakers grapple over tax increase

    Work on Pennsylvania state government’s budget for the day-old fiscal year may stretch into next week as lawmakers grapple with decisions about tax increases.

    The Senate sent its members home Friday, as budget negotiators continued a quest to assemble more than $1 billion to balance Pennsylvania’s deficit-riddled finances.

    A key element could be a gross receipts tax on the natural gas that serves nearly 3 million households and businesses in Pennsylvania.

    Lawmakers have sent the main spending bill in a $31.5 billion budget to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. But Wolf said he won’t sign it without sustainable revenues to fund it.

    He’ll have 10 days to decide what to do with it. Meanwhile, legislative staffers are preparing hundreds of pages of budget-related bills, including charter school legislation that’s opposed by the Philadelphia School District.

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