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Lawmakers Head Back To Harrisburg; Budget, Liquor Stores On Agenda

(The Pennsylvania capitol, in Harrisburg.  File photo)

(The Pennsylvania capitol, in Harrisburg. File photo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Pennsylvania lawmakers return to the capitol today to begin the final session weeks before they break for the summer. A new budget is definitely on the agenda, while House action on legislation to privatize liquor sales is a possibility.

The state Senate has passed a budget bill that spends considerably more than Governor Corbett has suggested, restoring all of the governor’s proposed cuts to higher education and some of his proposed cuts to county-run human service programs.

Both Corbett and House majority leader Mike Turzai, an Allegheny County Republican, refer to the Senate plan as a “ceiling”, though last week Turzai indicated he is willing to go as high as the Senate.

“We think that the product that was sent over from the Senate really had good parameters in keeping us fiscally responsible, while at the same time balancing that with the needs of Pennsylvania citizens.”

Turzai is the main man in the legislature behind the liquor privatization issue. He says a House vote on privatization sometime this month is a “goal”.

“We are working on a product, we have worked with the governor’s staff on that product. And, I do want to say this for us: it is a bill I would like to move out with deliberate speed, but it is not a bill that I’m in any way saying has to be done by this particular budget process and on to the governor’s desk.”

Philadelphia’s red light camera program will also expire at the end of the month without legislative action.