Wolf tries new budget talks tactic: smaller, quiet meetings

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf is shifting strategy in his talks with lawmakers as a state government budget stalemate stretches into a third month.

Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan said the Democrat is holding meetings with top lawmakers in small groups, without staff. Previously, Wolf had been holding meetings in the Capitol with dozens of lawmakers and staff aides.

On June 30, Wolf vetoed the Republican majority’s entire $30.2 billion budget bill within hours of its passage. Meanwhile, Republicans balked at Wolf’s $31.6 billion budget plan, saying it would require the biggest tax increase in Pennsylvania history.

Wolf says the GOP’s budget shortchanges public schools and safety-net services, while worsening state government’s long-term deficit and letting the natural gas industry escape a severance tax imposed by every other major gas-producing state.

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