State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Weekend state budget talks yield little progress

Written by Emily Previti/Keystone Crossroads | Jul 24, 2017 5:48 AM
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House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, leaves a committee meeting at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) -- Members of the state House convened this weekend to try to agree on how to pay for this year's budget.

But the special session was short-lived.

A $32 billion spending plan is already in place for the current fiscal year.

But four weeks in, the General Assembly still hasn't agreed on where to get $2 billion of revenue needed to balance it.

Lawmakers had been considering borrowing $1.5 billion against the tobacco settlement money the state gets every year, which would cover only part of estimated repayment costs.

House Speaker Mike Turzai said that didn't fly with his fellow Republicans.

"Our caucus had a robust discussion. Securitization is now something our caucus wants to do," he said. "Now we're now going to wait to see what the Senate R's and D's, what they are interested in doing."

The Senate is expected to return this week to try to come up with a solution.

Turzai talked to reporters after Republicans spent five hours caucusing behind closed doors on Saturday.

House Democrats say they didn't get any information about what was discussed.

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