Senate eyes House’s budget bill panned by Wolf

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Legislature is in session, a day before the state government’s fiscal-year deadline and no sign on how the Senate will handle the House’s just-passed budget bill.


Senators were scheduled Wednesday to discuss the House budget plan behind closed doors. The state government’s 2016-17 fiscal-year deadline starts Friday.

The House’s nearly $31.6 billion budget plan is a 5 percent spending increase, about half what Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf proposed. The new spending is driven by more money for public schools, pension obligations, prisons and human services.

But Wolf says it’s out of balance, and critics say it’s based on unreliable projections of $1 billion in new receipts from higher tobacco taxes, brisker wine and liquor sales, more legalized gambling and tax delinquents.

Senate critics say it falls short on higher education spending.