Talks over Pennsylvania budget deadlock take unexpected turn

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Efforts to end Pennsylvania’s 18-day stalemate over how to pay for a nearly $32 billion budget took an unexpected turn.

Democratic lawmakers and budget negotiators said Tuesday that House Republican leaders abruptly retreated from discussions over raising taxes to help stitch together the state government’s threadbare finances.

Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai left a meeting with top Republican senators, saying only that discussions were positive. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has sought a tax package he sees as being big enough to avoid a downgrade to Pennsylvania’s bruised credit rating.

Senate Republican leaders had helped broker a roughly $2 billion revenue plan based largely on borrowing. It was also was to rely on an expansion of casino-style gambling through the state’s licensed casinos and a tax package more modest than Wolf’s.

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