Pennsylvania budget strategy dares lawsuit, bond downgrade

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania state government is operating under a $31 billion election-year spending bill that lacks the tax collections to sustain it, and lawmakers say they’re scrambling to fix that before there’s a lawsuit or bond downgrade.

Tuesday is expected to be crucial to determining whether state lawmakers can pass a tax increase to fully fund the spending bill.

At midnight Monday, the spending bill became law after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf wouldn’t stand in its way and negotiations proved fruitless.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature say they’re working to produce a $1.3 billion revenue package that Wolf will accept.

They hope that’ll put a quick end to legal questions over how the state can operate on an unbalanced budget and the potential that it could draw another downgrade of Pennsylvania’s battered credit rating.

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