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Politics & Government

Senate To Confront No-Tax Package In 80-Day Budget Fight

Carolyn Kaster

The Pennsylvania Senate is due to reconvene in Harrisburg on day 80 of an increasingly ugly budget fight.

The Senate's chief piece of business Monday is sorting through the House's no-new-taxes plan approved last week amid a three-month stalemate over plugging a projected $2.2 billion budget hole.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate largely agree on borrowing a large chunk of the cash, a practice frowned on by public finance professionals. They also agree that the state treasury can count on some $200 million in one-time license fees from another expansion of casino gambling that lawmakers haven't even approved.

But senators backed a $500 million-plus tax package that hits utility customers and natural gas production. The House instead wants to siphon the rest from off-budget programs, including accounts for environmental protection and mass transit.