The bad news is that after meeting with the Governor, Republican legislators feel we are still far away from any budget agreement.
According to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, until there is an agreement on taxes “we’re going to be here a while.”
The good news, however, is that the Senate is scheduled to go back into session next week. Although Kevin Zwick of Capitolwire is reporting that the three day period from July 13th to 15th will mostly be used to try to override Gov. Wolf’s vetoes.
But hey, it’s a start.
Additionally, Corman was adamant that his caucus would not accept an income or sales tax increase, two elements central to the Governor’s budget plans.
“We’re not open to a discussion on an income tax increase, we’re not open to a discussion on a sales tax increase, we’re not open to a discussion on closing sales tax exemptions,” he stated.
“Everything else is open for discussions. We’re open to try to help out the governor to meet some of his initiatives, you know, within reason. But we’re not open to a broad-based tax increase.”
There could perhaps, however, be an opening in what Sen. Corman didn’t say. Wolf’s other big revenue-increasing proposal is a tax on natural gas drilling.
Perhaps this is a subtle sign that a severance tax is on the table and a deal still could be possible. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Only time will tell.