After 186 days without any progress, leaders in Harrisburg are ready to end the stalemate.
Special voting sessions in the state legislature have been scheduled for this weekend, with both chambers preparing to push budget bills through before the end of the year.
Gov. Tom Wolf called himself an “eternal optimist” in an interview with KDKA, but didn’t give much information on the form of the budget agreement.
“We’re almost there. I’m very confident,” Wolf said. When asked if there would be a deal by Christmas, Wolf said. “Much sooner than that. That would be my bet.”
An expansion of the list of goods and services subject to the sales tax is also expected, with Wolf admitting “there will be some broadening of the base.”
There will be no natural gas severance tax or property tax relief in this year’s budget, though the first-year Democratic Governor said they would be included in his budget proposal for 2016-17.
Wolf said he would introduce his next budget in the next two months. If next year’s negotiations drag on at the same rate, the 2016-17 budget will still be a month late.