HARRISBURG (June 25) State legislators are narrowing their focus on budget negotiations as its deadline rests just five days away.
Leaders from the four caucuses broke from a final meeting on general issues this afternoon and will return at 6 P.M. to begin talks on education, said House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Mario Civera, R-Delaware.
The focus of this afternoon’s negotiations were still on “tightening global issues” and few details had been agreed upon yet, said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Gibson E. Armstrong, R-Lancaster.
“Everything is still on the table,” Civera said.
Negotiations have remained tethered to a debate on overall spending, said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia. Republicans want to keep state spending near the four percent rate of inflation, said Senate President Pro-tempore Joseph B. Scarnati III, R-Cameron, which is less than Democratic proposals.
“Some steps forward,” said Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna.
The leaders will be available to meet late into the night to broker a deal that will have to be approved by the General Assembly and the Governor.
“Nobody has left the table,” Civera said. “So that’s good news.”
Image courtesy of Art Voice.