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Politics & Government

Turzai Says He'll Look To Wolf's Override Budget Veto If Talks Don't Yield Consensus

The top House Republican says he'll try to override the governor's budget veto if negotiations don't starting yielding consensus.

"We have to look at overriding if we're not going to have a substantive discussion," said House Speaker Mike Turzai, during his appearance at the Harrisburg Press Club luncheon on Monday.

Turzai said an override should be the "goal" of the GOP-controlled Legislature, though he's not sure if such a move would have the votes to pass.

"I haven't even asked anybody in terms of a count," said Turzai. "I ask, what's their perspective on the governor's budget proposal, and what was their perspective on our proposal?"

It is rare for the Legislature to successfully trump a governor's veto. An override requires a two-thirds majority vote, so both the House and Senate would need to pick up Democratic support.

The state budget is almost a month late. Negotiations haven't yielded progress on potential new taxes, the biggest issue dividing the Democratic governor and GOP legislative leaders.

Certain GOP House and Senate leaders have professed their objection to any increase in broad-based taxes, but Turzai has gone a step further and opposed placing a new tax on the natural gas drilling industry. Wolf has proposed levying a new tax on drillers to generate more revenue for education.

In a written statement, the Wolf administration accused Turzai of siding with energy companies over schools.

"Pennsylvania has tried it the Speaker's way," said Wolf's spokesman Jeff Sheridan, "and now it's time to put the middle class first and rebuild Pennsylvania."