After another round of afternoon budget talks, top Republicans in the state Legislature say they're closer than when they went in -- but still haven't agreed on how much the state can afford to spend next year.
Gov. Tom Corbett, once the two-part negotiating session wrapped up, said he believes that the administration, House and Senate officials have made progress toward bridging their $300 million or so gap.
"I would hope that we would get there in the next day or two," he told reporters.
Asked whether he agreed with the governor's assessment that agreement on a spending figure was close, House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, replied: "Sure."
This afternoon's discussion, however, appeared to focus more on "broad concepts" and less on "mathematical" aspects, according to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware.
Pileggi described the ethane tax credit proposed for Shell Oil Co. and others interested in locating processing facilities here as the governor's "number-one priority" and an "essential" part of the budget process. Corbett replied: "That's a fairly accurate description."
More to come tomorrow morning, following the next round of closed-door talks.