Revenue puzzle in pieces day before spending bill deadline

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Lawmakers are returning again to the Pennsylvania Capitol while budget negotiators try to scrounge $2 billion to deal with the state government’s largest shortfall since the recession.

Sunday’s unusual voting sessions come ahead of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s midnight Monday deadline to make a decision on the main appropriations bill in a $32 billion budget package.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature meeting privately have discussed legislation to authorize another big gambling expansion in the nation’s No. 2 commercial casino state in an effort to avoid a tax increase. They’re hoping for hundreds of millions of dollars more from the industry, but it’s one piece of the puzzle necessary to fill the shortfall.

It would allow 10 mini-casinos around Pennsylvania, but House GOP leaders aren’t endorsing it and critics say it’s an unreliable funding source.

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