Senate confronts no-tax package in 80-day budget fight

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Senate is back in Harrisburg on day 80 of an increasingly ugly budget fight.

The Senate’s chief piece of business Monday was sorting through the House’s no-new-taxes plan approved last week amid a three-month stalemate over plugging a projected $2.2 billion budget hole.

The chamber’s ranking senator, Republican Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County, says it’s imperative to work quickly. Scarnati notes that the state is in a bad financial spot without enough money flowing in to pay every bill on time.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate largely agree on borrowing a large chunk of the cash, a practice frowned on by public finance professionals. But Scarnati’s suggesting the deficit-strapped state still needs to raise taxes so it can pay bills in the future, a position that’s supported by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

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