Leaving a meeting with the governor this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman did not sound optimistic about a quick resolution to the impasse over the state budget.
"This is going to be a while," he told reporters. "The governor's holding to the fact that he needs a broad-based tax increase. We don't believe that we do. And until that issue can be resolved, we're going to be here a while."
Mr. Corman said Republicans will continue to oppose Gov. Tom Wolf's proposals to increase the rates of the personal income and sales taxes and to expand the roster of goods and services subject to the sales tax. But he said they could consider accepting some increases in state revenue.
"We're open to discussions about some more revenue sources, if that's what he needs, around the edges," Mr. Corman said. "But we're not open to a discussion on an income tax increase. We're not open to a discussion on a sales tax increase. We're not open to a discussion on closing sales tax exemptions. Those broad-based tax increases are not going to be part of the discussion."
Asked about proposals to raise the cigarette tax or impose a severance tax on natural gas drilling, he said: "Everything else is open for discussion."
Mr. Wolf's press secretary, Jeffrey Sheridan, said the governor wants to continue talking. But he said new recurring revenues are needed, and enough to fill the state's budget shortfall.
"He wants to find recurring revenues to close the structural budget deficit that we have, and the only way to do that is to find those new revenues," Mr. Sheridan said. "He is more than willing to continue talking with them about finding ways to do that. Right now there has not been any better ideas presented to us than increasing the personal income tax, increasing the sales tax while also providing the property tax relief that was not included in their budget."
Mr. Corman's office announced this afternoon that the Senate will return to work next week, with voting days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.