Tax debate heats up as lawmakers, Wolf work on budget deal

    Tax issues are emerging as a central issue in talks among the governor and state lawmakers about a state budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.

    Gov. Tom Wolf wants an extraction tax on natural gas drilling to send more money to public schools.

    He wants to use a mixture of higher state income taxes and higher sales taxes, applied to more items, to balance the budget. And he’s proposed a tax shift to replace about half the local property taxes that fund public schools with income taxes, and possibly some sales taxes.

    The Senate’s top Republican argues the state should enact changes to public pensions and privatize the state liquor stores.

    If he can’t get a global deal with Wolf, Sen. Joe Scarnati says lawmakers will send him a budget balanced with liquor and pension money.

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