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Pennsylvania Legislature prepares tax bill vote

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 13, 2016 2:37 PM
Harrisburg capitol 600x340.jpg

Photo by David Wilson/ via Flickr Creative Commons

(Harrisburg)_A $1.3 billion revenue package is headed toward up-or-down votes in the Pennsylvania House and Senate.

A committee of six top lawmakers voted unanimously on a just-unveiled tax bill as leaders hope to win final votes on an election-year tax increase necessary to balance the state's deficit-riddled budget.

The package is split between tax increases and one-time infusions of money, including a $200 million loan from a state medical malpractice insurance fund.

It includes a $1 per-pack tax increase on cigarettes, to $2.60 per pack, and an extension of the state's 6 percent sales tax to digital downloads of music, videos, books and apps.

It also counts on $100 million from pending legislation to make Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize online gambling.

State government is operating under a $31 billion spending bill that lacks the tax collections to sustain it, and lawmakers are scrambling to fix that before there's a lawsuit or bond downgrade.

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