HARRISBURG (News Radio 1020 KDKA) – There was no evidence Monday of major progress toward a new state budget due on Friday.
Lawmakers continue to grapple with how to plug another significant deficit.
The state House wants to raise new revenue by legalizing up to 40,000 slots-like video gaming terminals, or VGTs, as part of a wide-ranging bill to expand gambling.
However, Republican Jake Corman, the Senate majority leader, who has his own misgivings about VGTs, said Monday it remains a tough sell in his chamber.
“I have concerns. But I have a lot of members of my caucus who are very big supporters of it. And so I’m trying to work with them to see if there’s a way to navigate through the issue so that the people who are not supportive can be comfortable. I don’t know that that’s possible,” said Corman.
But, he says he’s trying. Asked if there had been any movement in the Senate GOP caucus toward VGTs, Corman said only “small steps.”
“And, I don’t think we’d want to layer on top and we wouldn’t want them to lose their money. So, we’d have to work through that issue as well, but that’s just one of the many issues that’s being batted around,” said Corman.
Corman says there is no agreement yet on a comprehensive revenue plan and as to any one particular proposal, he cautions that “nothing is resolved until it’s all resolved.”
Gov. Tom Wolf tells the “KDKA Morning News” that his position hasn’t changed.
“If we’re going to do something additional in gaming, it can’t harm the revenue streams we have right now. We can’t cannibalize the streams we have from the lottery and the casinos and the other things my predecessors that produce revenue for schools. If anything jeopardizes that, that would be wrong,” said Wolf.
Wolf adds while getting a budget done on time is important, he thinks, “a more important issue [is to] get the budget right.”