Pennsylvania budget negotiations stuck on gambling expansion

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Disagreements over expanding casino-style gambling in Pennsylvania remain at the forefront of negotiations over how to patch up state government’s yawning deficit.  Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai of Allegheny County said Friday that there are no agreements in private negotiations between leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

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Turzai says the primary issue for negotiators is expanding gambling and the extent of it.  Turzai says a tax increase isn’t necessary to balance a $32 billion spending plan. Senate leaders say $2.2 billion is necessary to resolve a two-year projected deficit, but Turzai contends the figure isn’t quite that high.  Besides gambling, Wolf proposed a $1 billion tax package, Senate Republicans want to borrow money and House Republicans want to raise cash by issuing more licenses to sell wine or liquor.

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