House GOP regroups around no-new-tax package to plug deficit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Up against an unprecedented cash crunch, Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives are preparing to vote on a no-new-taxes revenue package to help plug state government’s $2.2 billion budget gap.

House Republicans scheduled a vote late Wednesday night. With a budget stalemate in its third month, the state’s bank account is scraping bottom and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is warning he’ll be unable to pay bills on time starting Friday.

This House GOP plan follows the collapse of earlier proposals.

Republicans say the revamped package relies on borrowing $1 billion against future revenue from Pennsylvania’s share of 1998’s multistate settlement with tobacco companies.

It siphons $600 million-plus from off-budget programs, including accounts for transportation projects and environmental protection. Wolf opposes it, and Democrats say the one-time raids hurt important programs and don’t solve the state’s underlying financial problems.

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