Tough Budget Decisions Ahead For PA Lawmakers

By Tony Romeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After several years of tight spending, state lawmakers return to the capitol today following a nearly four-week break to begin a budget slog that’s expected to be even more dismal than the ones before.

With a deficit well north of a billion dollars, even some Republican lawmakers are eyeing a natural gas extraction tax.

On Friday, Governor Corbett – who has steadfastly opposed such a tax – would not comment on whether he might bend if lawmakers insist.

When asked if there’s a groundswell of support in the legislature and some Republicans – enough – join Democrats to push this through?

Governor Corbett says “again, I’m not going to speculate on something like that – ‘cause we don’t know that that’s going to happen.”

Erik Arneson, spokesman for the Senate majority leader, says he does not imagine a natural gas tax bill passing over the objections of the governor before the scheduled June 30th recess but he adds, “if we’re here on July 30th, I might tell you something different.”

And Arneson says other possible revenue increases are being looked at but that for now increases in the personal income tax and sales tax are not being discussed.

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