Pennsylvania House GOP challenges Senate’s budget package

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Capitol is relatively empty as House Republicans consider the Senate’s passage of hundreds of pages of budget-related legislation in recent days aiming to end the state government’s five-month-old stalemate.

House Republicans said Friday they’ll seek to reduce the package’s spending level and tax increase, and eliminate a provision to artificially reduce next year’s pension obligation payments.

House Speaker Mike Turzai objected to the Senate’s distribution of billions in school aid and payment cuts to charter schools. Turzai also says the Senate’s legislation to allow private-sector wine can’t pass the House.

House Democrats are unhappy over provisions creating new avenues for charter schools to open in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the governor’s office is protesting a provision affecting the creation of a state plan to meet federal requirements to reduce power plant pollution.

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