Lawmakers push borrowing, gambling bills in budget scramble

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Lawmakers are scrambling to advance massive borrowing and casino gambling measures to help resolve a four-month stalemate over how to fix Pennsylvania’s deficit-riddled finances.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 29-21 to approve a House plan that includes borrowing $1.5 billion and a grab bag of tax increases that’s projected to yield as much as $140 million a year.

Hanging in the balance is roughly $650 million in aid to five universities, including Penn State. Meanwhile, a bill to impose a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production is stalled amid opposition by House Republican leaders.

A Senate plan still under wraps would authorize gambling at 10 new casino locations, truck stops, airports and casino-run websites. Efforts to win both House and Senate approval could run late into Wednesday night.

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