Lawmakers inch closer to budget deal in final week

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 27, 2016 12:44 PM

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania state lawmakers are trickling back into the Capitol for the final days of the state government's fiscal year as budget negotiators try to produce a budget package that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will sign.

The House was scheduled to convene Monday at 11 a.m. and the Senate at 1 p.m.

Leaders of the four legislative caucuses broke from a meeting just after midnight Sunday reporting no final agreements on a spending level or a tax package to close a deficit.

They say they're inching closer to an agreement, and a House GOP spokesman says budget legislation could be unveiled in the coming hours after more closed-door discussion.

Funding for human services and public schools could be affected, depending on the spending level, while higher taxes on cigarettes are under discussion.

The 2016-17 fiscal year starts Friday.

An earlier story is below:

The start of the state government's 2016-17 fiscal year is four days away and budget legislation remains under negotiation behind closed doors.

Talks continued through Sunday, while lawmakers plan to return to the Capitol today. 

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature have reported no agreements on spending or how to pay for it, and haven't unveiled a bipartisan budget package. It appears unlikely that a budget package will pass before the fiscal-year deadline.

Negotiators are tight-lipped, and rank-and-file lawmakers who must vote on it have said they're being told little by caucus leaders.

Wolf is seeking enough money to balance a deficit projected at $1.8 billion next year and to increase aid to public schools for instruction and operations by $250 million, or 4 percent.

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