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Republicans eye revenue assumptions in Wolf's budget

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 21, 2017 1:46 PM
capitol_budget_2016.jpg

Photo by AP Photo/Chris Knight

Gov. Tom Wolf, center, delivers his budget address for the 2016-17 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate, as the speaker of the state House of Representatives, state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, left, and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, right, listen at the State Capitol in Harrisburg Pa., Tuesday Feb. 9, 2016.

(Harrisburg) -- Republican lawmakers are using budget hearings to question Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's assumptions for revenue from a minimum wage increase and a new tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production.

Tuesday's start of House and Senate hearings featured the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office and the Department of Revenue.

Wolf's $32.3 billion budget plan has won praise from Republicans for its modest spending increase and efforts to save money. But they're criticizing its reliance on $1 billion in tax increases to help fill Pennsylvania's stubborn post-recession deficit.

GOP leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature blame the deficit on too much spending, not inadequate revenue.

Matthew Knittel of the Independent Fiscal Office says a recent analysis concluded that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour would boost economic activity.

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