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Pennsylvania to begin new fiscal year without budget, as Shapiro, lawmakers express optimism

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Work by Pennsylvania lawmakers to complete a new budget was on track to blow into the new fiscal year, with Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and top lawmakers still expressing optimism Thursday that closed-door talks are yielding progress, despite the missed deadline.

For Shapiro, it will be his second straight budget that failed to get across the finish line by the constitutional deadline of July 1 in Pennsylvania’s politically divided government.

The Republican-controlled Senate recessed Thursday, planning to return to session after the weekend. The Democratic-controlled House planned to hold a voting session Friday before breaking for the weekend, returning Monday, said Beth Rementer, press secretary for House Majority leader Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery.

Shapiro in February floated what he called an “ambitious” $48.3 billion budget plan that relied on about $3 billion in reserve cash to balance it. A dominant feature is a $1.1 billion boost, or 14% more, for public schools, an amount that has drawn GOP objections that it would lead to quickly draining the state’s massive surplus.

For their part, Republicans passed their own $3 billion tax-cutting plan, which Democrats said would have a similar effect of wiping out a projected surplus of about $14 billion.

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