Lawmakers Will Resume Session As Signs Of New Budget Plan Emerge

Oct 2, 2017

GOP leaders say they’re optimistic they’ll have some kind of budget framework to present to members this week.

The House and Senate are both scheduled to convene Monday.

The potential deal comes after a week of closed negotiations between chamber leaders, as well as at least one rare in-person meeting with Governor Tom Wolf.

It’s unclear when or if major votes will happen.

But in a memo sent to GOP members, House Leader Dave Reed said it “might be a good idea to pack for a long week.”

He said he’s optimistic a deal is getting close. House Republican Spokesman Steve Miskin echoed that.

“I’m knocking wood,” he said. “We hope to have something to be able to caucus, or at least give them an update on where we are, and what are the sticking points.”

Up to now, major sticking points have centered on how much recurring revenue the state needs for a truly balanced budget.

Miskin said they expect to include “significant” fund transfers to close the $2.2 billion gap, plus “other revenues” that are still undetermined.

He declined to discuss whether a natural gas severance tax is out of the picture.

“There’s a lot of rumors. There’s a lot of innuendo out there,” he said. “The majority of members in our caucus do not support a severance tax. There are a number that do, but it didn’t come up for a vote last week in the House because they didn’t have enough votes.”

The tax is a Democratic priority, and a component of a budget plan the GOP-controlled Senate passed in July.